The Department of Health has negotiated an almost 50% cut in the ceiling price of Janssen Pharmaceutica’s tuberculosis (TB) drug bedaquiline, opening the way for increased access for patients around the globe. The development comes just a month after SA became the world’s first country to make bedaquiline part of routine treatment for patients with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). It is the first new TB drug in more than 40 years and is safer and more tolerable than the injectable drugs it replaces. The injectable aminoglycosides, such as kanamycin, frequently cause permanent hearing loss and kidney damage. The price applies to SA and to other countries that procure bedaquiline through the Global Drug Facility of the Stop TB Partnership. At current exchange rates, the price of treatment in SA will plunge from R10,000 per patient to about R5,400 a patient, Janssen’s technical and medical affairs director, Abeda Williams, said. Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced ear...

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