[Ip-health] RAPS: Greek Health Minister Takes Issue With Roche's Withdrawal of Cancer Medicine Due to Mandatory Discount
Andrew S. Goldman
andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Tue Oct 31 10:56:44 PDT 2017
Greek Health Minister Takes Issue With Roche's Withdrawal of Cancer
Medicine Due to Mandatory Discount
Posted 31 October 2017
By Zachary Brennan
Drug prices are not just a US problem. Greece's minister of health on
Tuesday expressed dismay over Roche's decision to withdraw a cancer
medicine because of a new mandatory discount imposed by the country.
Greek health minister Andreas Xanthou called the move by Switzerland-based
Roche "unacceptable" and said citizens' access to innovative medicines
should not be a business decision, according to a translation of a
statement released Tuesday.
The cancer treatment that was pulled from Greece's market by Roche is
Cotellic (cobimetinib), which is used to treat melanoma in combination with
Zelboraf (vemurafenib). Cotellic was approved in the US in 2015, and the
combo is reportedly priced at $17,600 per month, or about $211,000 per year.
Roche spokesperson Anja von Treskow told Focus: "With the imposition of the
mandatory 25% discount on new innovative products, which is added to a
series of mandatory discounts, making Cotellic available in Greece at the
reimbursed price has become unsustainable.
"We want to ensure that Greek patients continue to have access to
innovative medicines and treatments now and in the future. At the same
time, we need to protect our company from the extremely unfavorable
environment created by the rebate and discount based pricing policy for
pharmaceutical companies in Greece," the drugmaker said.
According to news reports, the mandatory 25% discount has been applied
retroactively to January 2017 in Greece and could cause other companies to
withdraw products from the market.
James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, told Focus he
thinks Greece should issue compulsory licenses on expensive cancer
medicines and "this is a good candidate."
Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
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