BD and FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), a Swiss foundation that develops, evaluates and accelerates the implementation of new diagnostic tools for poverty-related diseases, announce a significant price reduction in the cost of liquid culture testing.
The agreement lowers the cost of BD MGIT(TM) reagents. BD’s TB diagnostic technologies utilize liquid culture, a key "standard of care" TB testing protocol that provides results far faster than traditional, solid media culture. The liquid culture test, widely used in modern research settings, is particularly effective for stemming the spread of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) in developing countries.
"By collaborating with such leading global health organizations as FIND, BD’s Global Health initiative implements diagnostic programs that help strengthen healthcare infrastructures in developing countries," said Krista Thompson, Vice President and General Manager, Global Health, BD. "With an emphasis on accessibility, affordability and sustainability, BD provides on-the-ground technical assistance, training and products that maximize the capacity to diagnose TB, including drug-resistant strains, in nations where the disease is most prevalent."
The price reduction — announced five months earlier than anticipated — arises from a November 2007 agreement between BD and FIND. At that time, BD agreed to reduce already below-market prices upon the completion of 3.5 million tests, a milestone achieved this month. The lower prices will enable more tests to be administered in 39 high-burden countries, as identified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
"We are very happy about this price reduction for a needed assay to better and more rapidly detect MDR-TB and XDR-TB. These results are also a direct outcome of a fruitful collaboration with public and private partners such as UNITAID and BD," said Dr. Giorgio Roscigno, FIND Chief Executive Officer. "During a time of severe economic distress, resources are constrained and high-burden countries face intensified healthcare challenges. This agreement means that it will be possible to make this test more accessible and affordable to those who need it most, which is very encouraging and promising."
"With financial support from UNITAID, state-of-the-art technologies to diagnose MDR-TB are being introduced in low-income countries for the first time by FIND, GLI and GDF," said Jorge Bermudez, Executive Secretary of UNITAID. "UNITAID has also approved the expansion of the project with a new grant of US$ 61 million to extend access to these superior tests to an additional 11 high burden countries."
Under the terms of the agreement, the reagents will now be discounted 80%. Slight price variations will occur for end users because of shipping costs, tariffs, fees and other local costs that vary from country to country. The agreement provides for potential added discounts as test tube volume expands.
BD and FIND said they were able to accelerate the program with the help of financial support from a consortium consisting of UNITAID, the Global Laboratory Initiative and Global Drug Facility, along with FIND itself.
Over the next four years it is expected that partners GDF, GLI and FIND will provide equipment, reagents and technical expertise in identified countries for modernizing and expanding TB laboratory diagnostic capacity.
FIND and BD had announced the initial pricing agreement in November 2007 shortly after the WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for TB recommended liquid culture technology based on demonstration studies conducted by FIND in eight countries.
BD and FIND announced the price reduction today at the Pacific Health Summit, which is held annually in Seattle, WA. The Summit’s 2009 theme is "MDR-TB: Overcoming Global Resistance."
Source: BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)