In the latest dust-up over access to needed medicines, Doctors Without Borders is criticizing Otsuka Pharmaceutical for the “ridiculously high” price the drug maker is charging for a tuberculosis treatment.
The criticism came in response to a deal that Otsuka reached this week to provide delamanid — which is one of two relatively new medicines to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis — to more than 100 low and middle-income countries. Otsuka is charging $1,700 for a six-month course of treatment, and financing will come from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, a public-private partnership. The program will be administered by the STOP TB Partnership, which operates under United Nations auspices.
But the relief organization noted that delamanid, which is known commercially as Deltyba, must be taken with other medicines, which cost developing countries anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500 for a complete regimen. As a result, the price tag for the Otsuka drug may place the total cost of treatment out of reach for some governments, according to Sharonann Lynch, the HIV and TB policy advisor at Doctors Without Borders.