Setting: Despite WHO and IUATLD recommendations to use fixed-dose combination (FDC) tablets for treatment of tuberculosis, more than 75% of all rifampicin used in the public sector globally is administered as single drug tablets.
Objective: To estimate the potential global market for rifampicin-containing FDCs in the public and private sectors.
Design: The public sector market for FDCs was calculated from the number of tuberculosis cases notified to WHO for 1996 and from information on treatment regimens currently used in each country. The private sector market was calculated from the estimated number of treated tuberculosis cases and the treatment regimens presumed to be used in the private sector.
Results: The potential global market for the four-drug FDC tablet (rifampicin 150 mg, isoniazid 75 mg, pyrazinamide 400 mg and ethambutol 275 mg) is 305 (90%CI 145-505) million tablets per year, 105 (90%CI 50-160) and 200 (90%CI 95-345) million of which would be distributed in the public and private sectors, respectively. The uncertainty of the estimate remains considerable, as shown by the 90% confidence intervals.
Conclusion: The study demonstrated a large potential global market for FDCs that should encourage pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce WHO-recommended dosages of FDCs at affordable prices.