The first new tuberculosis drug in more than 40 years, a treatment for hepatitis C currently priced in the United States at $84,000, and an early infant diagnostic test for HIV are among the breakthrough medicines and technologies the global health financing organization UNITAID is aiming to make available to people in low- and middle-income countries through $160 million in grants announced Tuesday.
The grants include $6 million to the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition to tackle barriers that keep affordable generic second- and third-line antiretroviral treatments from reaching people who need them in middle-income countries, and $5.2 million to Coalition Internationale Sida to work with partners in 11 countries around the world to negotiate lower prices for new hepatitis C treatments for HIV co-infected patients.
With up to $15 million, Médecins Sans Frontières also will seek to improve hepatitis C drug access by demonstrating the market for the medicines in India, Iran, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Ukraine as leverage to negotiate lower prices of new, shorter term treatment drugs, and support the need for competition from generic manufacturers. Partners in Health will get up to $60.4 million towards work over the course of four years to establish user-friendly treatment regimens for delamanid and bedaquiline, two newly approved medicines for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Northwestern Global Health Foundation will receive $3.7 million to introduce a point-of-care HIV diagnostic test for infants. In addition, the Malaria Consortium will get up to $67.4 million to support large scale rollout of preventive malaria treatments for children, aiming to establish access and lower prices for the medicines in seven African countries. More details are available in UNITAID’s announcement of the grants.
UNITAID, which is hosted by the World Health Organization, was launched in 2006 to lower prices and speed availability of medicines for malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and co-infections of the diseases.