Children with TB getting better treatment - rapid roll-out of the new child friendly medicines in 27 countries

05 October 2016 - Geneva, Switzerland - The new child-friendly pediatric formulations developed by TB Alliance, with funding from UNITAID and other partners, are being successfully rolled-out globally in 27 countries by Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF).

TB Alliance recently announced the success of the Kenya programme in rolling out new formulations. In addition to Kenya, GDF is mobilizing its resources to get additional countries on board. Papua New Guinea was the first to receive a GDF shipment in June 2016 with Kiribati and Tuvalu following closely behind.

An additional 24 countries that GDF supplies to - which include Pakistan, Philippines, Myanmar and India - are awaiting delivery after orders of a total value of USD 3.25 million for 221, 000 children were placed with GDF. The drugs have primarily been funded by the government budgets, Global Fund, Global Affairs Canada and USAID.

Children are expected to be treated with these new formulations that is a combination of three drugs, come in the correct doses for children, are fruit-flavored and dissolve in water, making them easier for children to take. Previously, caregivers had to cut or crush multiple, bitter-tasting pills to give children the correct dose every day for six months, contributing to treatment failure and death.

GDF is offering these fixed dose combinations at the best possible prices:

Rifampicin 75 mg + Isoniazid 50 mg + Pyrazinamide 150mg (3 FDC) for intensive phase at USD 2.95 per package of 84 tablets

Rifampicin 75mg + Isoniazid 50 mg (2 FDC) for continuation phase USD 2.41 per package of 84 tablets

For easy calculation, a full six-month course of the new pediatric formulations for a child weighing between 4 - 24kg ranges from USD 5 - USD 21.

GDF has been providing technical assistance to National TB programmes to support the switch to new pediatric formulations in the area of quantification, supply and transition planning.

Given this low price, all children worldwide must now be diagnosed and treated and have access to effective medicines. No child should die of TB today.

According to data from WHO, an estimated one million children had TB and 150,000 children died from TB, in 2014.

The child-friendly medicines are the first products to meet WHO’s 2010 guidelines for childhood TB treatment and will go a long way towards saving thousands of children’s lives if implemented.