Geneva – 09 October 2014 UNITAID has released the second edition of its TB Medicines Technology and Market Landscape, detailing current shortcomings in the tuberculosis (TB) medicines market and opportunities to improve access to lifesaving TB treatment.
Although largely curable, TB remains a serious threat to global public health and a leading cause of death, particularly among people co-infected with HIV and women of reproductive age. TB is also one of the top 10 causes of death in children.
In 2012, of an estimated 8.6 million new cases of TB, as many as 3 million were not diagnosed, notified to national TB control programmes or reported to the World Health Organization. TB claimed 1.3 million lives the same year.
The TB Medicines Technology and Market Landscape notes that serious obstacles to improving access to TB treatment remain, including the long duration and complexity of current regimens and the challenges posed by evolving drug resistance. Other challenges examined in depth include:
- Low access to treatment for people with drug-resistant strains of TB, and the complex, expensive, and lengthy treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB that can have severe side-effects and make adherence difficult;
- The relatively small size of markets for MDR-TB drugs, which creates risk of supply shortages and stock-outs and inhibits procurement efficiencies;
- Limited buyer negotiating power due to poor market visibility, market fragmentation and a large and uncoordinated private sector;
- The critical lack of quality-assured pediatric fixed-dose combinations to effectively treat children with TB.
The report describes several opportunities to help develop more robust markets for TB medicines in order to improve treatment options including:
- Generating evidence to improve and simplify MDR-TB treatment
- and consolidate demand;
- Supporting coordinated procurement activities for better market transparency and purchasing power;
- Improving coordination among donors, the private sector and government buyers in innovative ways, including through social business models;
- Addressing the urgent need for better treatment outcomes for children by consolidating demand, negotiating prices and scaling up quality-assured pediatric diagnostics and medicines.