As a major conference on tuberculosis nears, Doctors Without Borders is pressuring suppliers of key medicines — Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Mylan (MYL) and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals — to lower their prices by significant amounts.
As part of its effort, the nonprofit is protesting outside J&J offices in several countries to demand the health care giant slash the price of Sirturo by half — to $1 a day. Currently, the lowest price J&J charges for a 20-month treatment course is $1,200, or $2 a day, in countries eligible to buy the drug through the Global Drug Facility, a purchasing mechanism run by Stop TB Partnership, a United Nations program.
At the same time, Doctors Without Borders wants Otsuka Pharmaceutical to slash the $1,700 price tag for Deltyba, which Mylan also licensed and now sells for $940 in South Africa. The nonprofit cited estimates from University of Liverpool researchers who calculated the drug could be made and sold at a profit for $5 to $16 a month if enough countries are able to purchase large quantities.