29 August 2011 - New Delhi - The Stop TB Partnership's Global Drug Facility (GDF) convened a meeting of tuberculosis (TB) drug manufacturers aimed at increasing collaboration on drug procurement and addressing the global shortage of quality TB drugs.
More than 100 people joined the meeting, including Dr Surinder Singh, India's Drug Controller General, Dr Ashok Kumar from the Indian Government's central TB division and representatives from major drug companies and donors.
Dr Singh spoke of India's potential to make a global contribution to the TB drug market, stating that the pharmaceutical sector has been growing at 14% a year. However, as the manufacturers highlighted, many challenges remain. The cost of obtaining prequalification to produce TB drugs is high, demand is uncertain and the small market for drugs - particularly to treat drug-resistant TB - makes it difficult to turn a profit.
Priority actions highlighted at the meeting included consolidating demand for drug ingredients and formulations, increasing the number of patients put on treatment in order to reduce the price of drugs and reforming processes to make the market more attractive for manufacturers.
"There are a number of potential interventions that we can make," said Caroline Bogren, manager of the Global Drug Facility. "Forecasting can be improved, procurement can be better coordinated and firm funding commitments will help to make the market more sustainable."
Following the initial meeting, a smaller group of stakeholders met to start work on an action plan to address the issues raised at the meeting. The plan is due to be finalized later in 2011.