Important price reduction improves access to TB prevention

KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation welcomes the announcement of a substantial reduction in the price of an anti-tuberculosis medicine through the support of Unitaid and the Global Fund, in partnership with the manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur.

The ant-tuberculosis drug Rifapentine (P) can be taken together with isoniazid (H) once a week for three months in a regimen known as ‘3HP’ to treat latent TB infection (LTBI). This WHO approved combination is shorter, easier to take and just as effective as standard daily treatments, but until now was much more costly. This price reduction is an important step, making the prevention of TB more affordable for public sector use in low- and middle-income countries with high burdens of TB and HIV.

Expanded access to safe, effective and affordable medicines is essential for millions of people at risk around the world to protect themselves against tuberculosis. TB is still the deadliest infectious disease in the world, killing over 4.000 people every day. Unnecessary, because with the right treatment TB can be cured and it can also be prevented. The immune system prevents this for most people; when someone is infected, LTBI can lay dormant for years. Without treatment 5 to 10 percent of infected people will at some point develop active TB and get ill. Vulnerable people, like young children and people living with HIV, have the highest risk to develop active TB.

Agnes Gebhard, director technical division of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation: “KNCV is currently supporting countries in Africa and Asia to introduce 3HP treatment. We applaud the price reduction of rifapentine, which enables the countries to move ahead, being the first to roll-out large scale access to this innovative treatment for TB infection.”

One of the projects in which KNCV collaborates on 3HP introduction is the Aurum Institute-led and Unitaid-funded IMPAACT4TB project, KNCV being the project lead in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Indonesia.

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The price reduction of rifapentine was announced today by Unitaid, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Sanofi. More information can be found here.