[Ip-health] In wake of Bayer CL, Roche to offer 'significantly' cheaper, locally branded versions of its two cancer drugs Herceptin and MabThera

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Sat Mar 24 12:09:58 PDT 2012


http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/23/roche-discounted-cancer-drugs-india

Roche to offer discounted cancer drugs in India: Roche, the world's
biggest maker of cancer drugs, said it would offer 'significantly'
cheaper, locally branded versions of its two cancer drugs Herceptin
and MabThera by early next year

Julia Kollewe
guardian.co.uk, Friday 23 March 2012 10.57 EDT

Swiss drugmaker Roche plans to offer cut-price versions of two
blockbuster cancer drugs for the Indian market soon.

The news comes after the Indian government stripped the German
drugmaker Bayer of exclusive rights to produce the kidney cancer drug
Nexavar earlier this month, and licensed a local company to make a
cheap, generic version, arguing that many Indians could not otherwise
afford the life-saving drug.

Roche, the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs, said it would offer
"significantly" cheaper, locally branded versions of its two cancer
drugs Herceptin and MabThera towards the end of the year or in 2013.
They will be renamed and packaged by Roche's Indian partner Emcure
Pharmaceuticals.

"The scope is to enable access for a large majority of patients who
currently pay out of pocket as well as to partner with the government
to enable increased access to our products for people in need," said a
Roche spokesman.

Monthly doses of Herceptin, for breast cancer, and MabThera, for
cancers of the blood and lymphatic system, cost between $3,000
(£1,889) and $4,500 per patient at wholesale prices.

The spokesman added: "With this strategy, we expect to significantly
increase the number of patients treated with our therapies and help
patients currently under treatment to continue to use our products
properly."

He denied that the move was prompted by the Bayer case. "Rather it is
part of our overall strategy in emerging markets, where we work
closely with governments and payers in order to enable access to our
medicines," he said. For example, working with the Egyptian health
authorities Roche introduced a second brand of its HCV medicine
Pegasys in Egypt that was packaged locally. "This allowed for
differential pricing, with the local brand available at a
significantly reduced price enabling greater access to those in need.
We are considering this approach as part of our strategy for various
emerging markets."

Roche's decision will reignite the debate over whether prices for
life-saving medicines should be cut in poorer countries. Several
drugmakers, including GlaxoSmithKline, have already slashed their
prices for HIV/Aids drugs in Africa, as well as some middle-income
countries elsewhere. However, there are fears that a proposed free
trade agreement between the EU and India, which could be signed by the
autumn, could spell the end of cheap drugs for the developing world.


-- 
James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.  Sometimes I am
using my MaxRoam number: +447937390810
twitter.com/jamie_love




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