Cost of Cancer Drugs are sky rocketing.
Drug Companies arbitrarily fix rates and when an indigenous manufacturer is ready to supply at a fraction of the cost, these Drug companies hide behind patents.
India‘s patent appeals office has rejected Bayer AG‘s plea to stop the production of a cheaper generic version of a patented cancer drug in a ruling that health groups say is an important precedent for getting inexpensive lifesaving medicines to the poor.
Last year, India’s patent office allowed local drug manufacturer Natco Pharma Ltd. to produce a generic version of Bayer’s kidney and liver cancer drug Nexavar on the grounds it would make the drug available to the public at a reasonably affordable price. It was the first use of compulsory licensing under Indian patent laws passed in 2005.
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board rejected the German drug maker’s appeal of the 2012 ruling on Monday. It also ruled that under the license Natco must pay 7 per cent in royalties on net sales to Bayer.
Bayer sells a one month supply of the drug for about $5,600. Natco’s version would cost Indian patients $175 a month, less than 1/30th as much.
Western pharmaceutical companies have been pushing for stronger patent protections in India to regulate the country’s $26 billion US generics industry, which they say frequently flouts intellectual property rights. However, health activists and aid groups counter that Indian generics are a lifesaver for patients in poor countries who cannot afford Western prices to treat diseases such as cancer, malaria and HIV.
Bayer said Tuesday it “strongly” disagreed with the appeal panel’s decision and would pursue the case in the high court in India’s commercial capital Mumbai
A: Medicines produced by generic companies in India are among the cheapest in the world. That is because, until 2005, India did not grant patents on medicines. India is one of the few developing countries with production capacity to manufacture quality-assured generic medicines.
By producing cheaper generic versions of medicines that were patented in other countries, India became a key source of affordable medicines, such as antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) to treat HIV and AIDS. Eighty percent of the medicines MSF uses to treat 170,000 people living with HIV in its projects today are sourced from Indian generic drug companies, and over 80 percent of all HIV and AIDS medicines bought by donors also come from India. In the case of treatment for pediatric AIDS, Indian generic producers supply over 90 percent of medicines used in developing countries. This is why India is known as the “pharmacy of the developing world.”
Q: What is the relationship between patents and affordable medicines?
A: When a pharmaceutical company has a patent in a country, it means it has a monopoly in that country for a certain amount of time. This means it can prevent other companies from producing, selling, or importing the medicine in that country for the duration of the patent term, which, according to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, is a minimum of 20 years. This in turn allows companies to charge high prices because there are no competitors in the market.
In the absence of patents, multiple generic producers produce medicines, further driving the price down. Competition among different producers is the tried and tested way to bring prices down. Competition among generic manufacturers is what helped bring the cost of HIV and AIDS treatment down from over US$10,000 per patient per year in 2000 to $150 today. The absence of patents in India has also helped in the development of three-in-one HIV/AIDS medicines called fixed-dose combination pills, and formulations for children.
Q: Aren’t patents needed to stimulate innovation for new drugs by pharmaceutical companies?
A: An increasing number of studies have shown that while patent protection has increased over the last 20 years, the innovation rate has been falling, with an increase in the number of “me-too” drugs of little or no therapeutic gain. This undermines the case that is often made by the pharmaceutical industry that more patent protection would result in more investment in medical innovations.
A study published in 2005 concluded that 68 percent of the 3,096 new products approved in France between 1981 and 2004 brought “nothing new” over previously available preparations. Similarly, the British Medical Journal published a study rating barely 5 percent of all newly patented drugs in Canada as “breakthrough.” And a breakdown of over 1,000 new drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 1989 and 2000 revealed that over three quarters have no therapeutic benefit over existing products.
In addition, the 2006 report of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Public Health also found that there was no evidence that the implementation of WTO rules on patents in developing countries significantly boosts research and development in pharmaceuticals for diseases affecting developing countries.
Q: Does India not grant patents on medicines at all?
A: As a WTO member, India has to comply with trade rules set by the WTO. One of these is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, which obliges WTO member countries to grant patents on pharmaceuticals. To comply with this international obligation, India amended its patent law in 2005 and started to grant patents on medicines. As a result, when patents are granted in the country, Indian generic manufacturers are not able to produce cheaper generic versions of these medicines.”
I have a friend in Bangalore whose close relative is a distributor for Cancer drugs.
He sells a medicine at Rs 8000 to Patients ans he makes a profit of 22% if he sells it Rs.1800!
next time your Doctor recommends you a Cancr Drug, as him show the combination, check the information at the Link below and confront him to prescribe an an equivalent Indian Drug or ask him to give you details of other drugs available in the market.
Please remember these Drugs will not arrest Cancer immediately and you have some time to buy them.
This list includes more than 100 cancer drug information summaries from NCI. The summaries provide consumer-friendly information about cancer drugs and drug combinations.
Summaries for individual cancer drugs cover the uses of these drugs, research results, possible side effects, approval information, and ongoing clinical trials. The list includes brand and generic names for the drugs.
Summaries for cancer drug combinations are listed by abbreviation or common name and are shown in capital letters. Each summary gives a list of the drugs that make up the combination and explains what the combination is used for. It also has links to summaries for individual drugs in the combination.