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MSF says TB trial cost $36 million and calls for transparency on drug study costs

Posted by on 07 May 2024
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Humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has shared detailed cost data for a clinical trial focused on drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in a bid to encourage other study sponsors to follow suit.

The Geneva, Switzerland-headquartered firm – which is also known as Doctors Without Borders – said the 2022 TB Practecal study – which tested a shorter treatment regimen for drug-resistant forms of the disease – cost a total of $36 million.

MSF medical director and chief investigator Bern-Thomas Nyang’wa said “We hope that our disclosure of clinical trial costs for identifying an improved regimen for drug-resistant tuberculosis will serve as a clarion call for other public and non-profit actors to join us and publicly share their clinical trial costs to ensure broader transparency in medical [research and development] (R&D) costs.”

MSF said the publication challenges the lack of transparency around drug development and the prevailing narrative that high prices are needed to recoup high R&D costs.

According to Nyang’wa “Transparency in clinical trial costs is a transformative step towards exposing what medical innovation actually costs and building a future where access to medicines and medical tools is not hindered by high prices.”

MSF urged other public and non-profit actors to follow suit as increasing transparency around R&D costs would help ensure better access to lifesaving medical tools.

The comments are in keeping with various other MSF efforts to increase transparency about the cost of drug research. Last year, for example, the organization voiced support for the proposed Pharmaceutical Research Transparency Act in the US.

The legislation would require pharmaceutical corporations and other drug developers to publicly disclose the costs of clinical trials on a government website and in their annual financial reporting.
According to MSF such information would give people, governments, and treatment providers more leverage to negotiate fair prices.


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