Lancet article highlights Global Drug Facility’s leading role in TB drug market

5 June 2013 - Geneva - The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) has a substantial share of the market for first and second-line tuberculosis (TB) drugs, according to a study published in the Lancet.

The authors of the study report that GDF ordered first and second-line anti-TB products with a value of US $122 million in 2011, supplying first-line drugs for 35% of TB patients notified in 2011 and second-line treatments for 32% of drug-resistant TB patients notified in the same year.

The study also reports that GDF supplied second-line drugs for 29 800 patients in 2012, a 52% increase compared to the previous year. The authors note that there is significant further potential for expansion in the provision of high-quality second-line drugs, provided that there is an increase in global efforts to diagnose people with drug-resistant TB and carry out drug-sensitivity testing.

The authors argue that consolidating procurement for TB drugs - whether through GDF or other mechanisms - creates a favourable environment for reducing the price of quality-assured drugs and minimizes the use of public funds for buying drugs of potentially substandard quality.

Following a rapid rise in the proportion of first-line TB drugs procured by GDF between 2001 and 2005, this proportion reduced slightly between 2005 and 2011. The decline, the authors say, could be due to an increase in the use of other procurement mechanisms, creating the need for fresh efforts to standardize and integrate procurement.

The proportion of second-line drugs provided by GDF has increased steadily since 2005. These increases have led to a reduction in price for many second-line drugs. In March 2013, GDF reported that it had reduced the price of several second-line drugs by up to 26% compared to 2011 prices, resulting in a decrease in the overall cost of treatment.

Read the study in the Lancet.