[Ip-health] Study: Estimated generic prices for 4 patented cancer drugs

Dzintars Gotham dzintarsgotham at gmail.com
Wed Jan 27 09:47:59 PST 2016

Dear colleagues,

A study we have conducted on estimated generic prices of four patented oral cancer drugs (imatinib, erlotinib, sorafenib, lapatinib) has been published today in BMJ Open. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/1/e009586.full The study also includes overview of global prices.

My favourite sentence from the paper is
"At the target prices identified, $1 billion would be enough to treat all 1 million patients worldwide who become eligible for treatment with imatinib, erlotinib, sorafenib and lapatinib, every year. This combined cost is less than a quarter of the net sales of $4.7 billion for imatinib in 2013 alone."

I am copying the abstract here. This paper is licensed under CC BY, meaning you can repost/share the paper text and/or PDF wherever, providing you cite the authors and journal.

Best regards

Dzintars Gotham


Target prices for mass production of tyrosine kinase inhibitors for global cancer treatment

Authors: Andrew Hill, Dzintars Gotham, Joseph Fortunak, Jonathan Meldrum, Isabelle Erbacher, Manuel Martin, Haitham Shoman, Jacob Levi, William G Powderly, Mark Bower.

Objective: To calculate sustainable generic prices for 4 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

Background: TKIs have proven survival benefits in the treatment of several cancers, including chronic myeloid leukaemia, breast, liver, renal and lung cancer. However, current high prices are a barrier to treatment. Mass production of low-cost generic antiretrovirals has led to over 13 million people being on HIV/AIDS treatment worldwide. This analysis estimates target prices for generic TKIs, assuming similar methods of mass production.

Methods: Four TKIs with patent expiry dates in the next 5 years were selected for analysis: imatinib, erlotinib, lapatinib and sorafenib. Chemistry, dosing, published data on per-kilogram pricing for commercial transactions of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), and quotes from manufacturers were used to estimate costs of production. Analysis included costs of excipients, formulation, packaging, shipping and a 50% profit margin. Target prices were compared with current prices. Global numbers of patients eligible for treatment with each TKI were estimated.

Results: API costs per kg were $347–$746 for imatinib, $2470 for erlotinib, $4671 for lapatinib, and $3000 for sorafenib. Basing on annual dose requirements, costs of formulation/packaging and a 50% profit margin, target generic prices per person-year were $128–$216 for imatinib, $240 for erlotinib, $1450 for sorafenib, and $4020 for lapatinib. Over 1 million people would be newly eligible to start treatment with these TKIs annually.

Conclusions: Mass generic production of several TKIs could achieve treatment prices in the range of $128–$4020 per person-year, versus current US prices of $75161–$139 138. Generic TKIs could allow significant savings and scaling-up of treatment globally, for over 1 million eligible patients.

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