J&J urged to reduce the price of breakthrough TB drug, bedaquiline

We’re supporting MSF’s #NoMoreTears campaign, demanding Johnson & Johnson to lower the price of the tuberculosis drug bedaquiline to $1 a day for anyone who needs it.

As Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) describes, bedaquiline is the first new drug developed to treat tuberculosis (TB) in more than 40 years and is critical for the treatment of drug-resistant TB. Worldwide, more than 80 percent of people with drug-resistant TB don’t have access to this breakthrough medicine, and price remains one of the key barriers.

“More than 80 percent of people with drug-resistant TB don’t have access to this breakthrough medicine” – MSF. 

Too many people are suffering from devastating side-effects from taking older, toxic medicines. Yet J&J didn’t develop the drug in isolation. Taxpayers and private donors paid for research, and global TB researchers and treatment providers such MSF and the University of Cape Town, among others, paid for bedaquiline by running clinical trials that demonstrated its potential to dramatically improve cure rates.

Patent power

“We are supporting this campaign as no-one should be going untreated or living with side-effects from older drugs, when a newer, more optimal treatment exists,” says Othoman Mellouk, ITPC’s Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines Lead.

“J&J’s monopoly enables it to overcharge for bedaquiline, despite the fact that public and philanthropic money helped to develop it. While J&J profits, 100s of thousands of people die from drug-resistant TB each year. We join MSF in demanding #NoMoreTears.”

“While J&J profits, 100s of thousands of people die from drug-resistant TB each year” – Mellouk. 

“It’s a situation we sadly see repeatedly on essential medicines around the world. That’s why our civil society partners are tackling this, for example, through improving patent laws and opposing unmerited patents such as this one.”

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