[Ip-health] StatPlus: The battle over a pricey cancer drug now engulfs the University of California (paywall)

Andrew S. Goldman andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Fri May 26 06:23:15 PDT 2017


The battle over a pricey cancer drug now engulfs the University of

By ED SILVERMAN @Pharmalot

MAY 25, 2017


The medicine, which the university developed with federal grants, is
currently sold in India by Astellas. The company has rights to market the
treatment outside the US through an agreement with yet another drug maker,
which is now owned by Pfizer and had reached a licensing deal with the
university. The Indian Patent Office, meanwhile, recently denied a patent
to the university, which has now filed a court challenge.

But in a May 24 letter to University of California President Janet
Napolitano, the advocacy groups write that consumers could be hurt if the
university is issued a patent. They note that Astellas is selling Xtandi in
India at an “exorbitant” price of $44.77 a pill, which means the cost of
the required four-pill daily dose in the country greatly exceeds what the
World Bank estimates as per capita income of $4.36 a day.

“The high price of Astellas branded Xtandi in India is shocking to anyone
who thinks cancer drugs should be accessible and affordable, regardless of
where you live,” write the 56 groups, which include the Union for
Affordable Cancer Treatment, Knowledge Ecology International, the Yale
Global Health Justice Partnership, Oxfam, and Public Citizen.

Beyond that, the groups argue that patenting Xtandi would prevent generic
competitors from supplying the drug at an affordable price. “Generic
competition in India has historically driven down prices and significantly
improved access to cancer drugs in India and other countries that are
currently sourcing from India, and this will also apply to [Xtandi] as it
goes into production and registration,” they wrote.


Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
tel.: +1.202.332.2670

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