Pepsi to Improve Drug Flavor

PepsiCo lends flavor-developing expertise to TB Alliance to make tuberculosis medication more palatable for kids.

PepsiCo makes tuberculosis drugs taste better. Photo: TB Alliance
PepsiCo makes tuberculosis drugs taste better. Photo: TB Alliance

A recent New York Times article says PepsiCo is doing its part to tackle one of the world’s 10 deadliest diseases by improving the medication to treat it. Tuberculosis pills are designed for adults and the unpleasant flavor makes it difficult for children to swallow. PepsiCo is working with the TB Alliance to improve the sensory experience of 17 drugs used to combat tuberculosis. The company is donating its time, expertise, and any intellectual property developed during the project.

At the helm of the project is Mehmood Khan, head of research and development operations at Pepsi. Khan, a physician and scientist, has applied his background in pharmaceuticals to reduce sugar, enhance flavor, and improve the overall nutritional quality of Pepsi’s products. Because kids don’t always exhibit the signature cough that spreads tuberculosis, prevalence of the illness among them has been understated. A World Health Organization report estimated roughly one million children contract the disease, and about 200,000 of them will die.

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