BACKGROUND: The successful introduction of new drugs into low- and middle-income countries requires an understanding of the existing market size and market dynamics for the therapeutic area of interest. The drug markets in these countries are, however, less well understood than those in high-income countries.
METHODS: The global market for tuberculosis (TB) drugs was estimated by studying in detail six high-burden countries and four high-income countries, followed by extrapolation. Data were derived from existing pharmaceutical audit databases and interviews with government officials, medical staff and suppliers.
RESULTS: The use of qualitative inputs to inform the collection of quantitative information, notably to identify where the major flows of TB drugs are located, allowed a confident estimate of the global market for first-line TB drugs. Final ranges were US$261-316 million or US$310-418 million, depending on whether case notification rates or incidence were used for extrapolations.
CONCLUSIONS: An estimation of the global TB drug market is made more reliable by a qualitative understanding of TB drug distribution pathways, which differ greatly among countries. The understanding of this structure in key high-burden countries provides the basis for a simpler update of the market estimate in the future.
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (2008) 12(10) 1173-1181