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Friday, January 24, 2014

American Exceptionalism, Pharmaceutical Edition

Beleaguered Americans in need of health care that requires costly drugs (for just how costly, see Elisabeth Rosenthal's excellent New York Times series, "Paying Till It Hurts") may find themselves longing to be citizens of a country like India, where a government-appointed panel evaluates drugs for local makers to copy, at vastly reduced prices from what Americans pay. Pharmaceutical companies are enraged about the practice, which allows  a compulsory license to be awarded for some products still under patent if the original isn’t available locally at a reasonable price. 
Bloomberg reported what one such enraged CEO, Marijn Dekkers of Bayer, said last month about India's granting the nation's first compulsory license to make a copy of Bayer’s Nexavar cancer drug-- at a 97 percent discount to the original product:  “We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for western patients who can afford it.” 

The blog Knowledge Ecology International, which reported that "health advocates were shocked by the direct and appalling statements attributed to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers," helpfully provides this context: the Bayer price for Nexavar was $65,000 per year in India, and "Bayer is currently arguing that the $65,000 price is 'reasonably affordable' to the India Supreme Court."    h/t @nxthompson  -- B.B.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What seems to be missing in the article is mention of the high prices the industry pays to fund the 'democratic' election of representatives favorable these high prices, huge industry tax breaks, and the use of public money for research.

Our government is indistinguishable from organized crime.