Create a market for child-friendly TB medicines
Intro to childhood tuberculosis
Childhood tuberculosis (TB) is on the rise with as many as 64,000 child deaths every year. Infants and young children are at increased risk of suffering from severe forms of TB that can leave them blind, deaf, paralysed or mentally disabled. In children living with HIV the risk of TB infection is very high. Nevertheless, child-friendly TB treatment and diagnostics have been largely neglected by the market. A lack of “fixed-dose combination” formulations made for children is driven by a lack of demand from national TB programmes, low access to diagnostics and uncertainties around ideal dosing for paediatric formulations. For good reason, childhood TB has been referred to as the “hidden epidemic.”
Implemented by the Global Drug Facility, this project aims to create the market for child-friendly TB medicines by increasing the number of manufacturers and stimulating competition between them. Funding is provided to foster the development of child-friendly formulations for children under five-years old.
Childhood TB medicines remain a difficult market, with high production costs and changing guidelines for children. Almost 90% of market needs remain unmet. Initially, UNITAID grants enabled price reductions of up to 30% for key child TB formulations. In 2010, the World Health Organization changed its guidelines for treating children with TB, recommending higher dosages.