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'We didn't make this medicine for Indians… we made it for western patients who can afford it': Pharmaceutical chief tries to stop India replicating its cancer treatment

  • Indian firm granted government licence to produce copy of a Bayer drug  
  • Nexavar is used for the treatment of kidney, liver and thyroid cancers
  • A patient would pay £58,000 for a year's course of the Bayer version  
  • However the cost of the Natco version would be around £1,700  
  • Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers made comments during a panel discussion  H
  • e has previously described India's patent laws as 'essentially theft'

 

The CEO of phamaceutical giant Bayer has sparked fury after announcing one of the firm's drugs was for 'western patients who can afford it'.   Marijn Dekkers made the inflammatory comments after the Indian company Natco Pharma Ltd. were granted a government licence to produce a copy of Bayer’s cancer drug Nexavar which they will sell for 97 per cent less than the original product.   Under Indian law the government grants compulsory licenses to domestic firms to produce copies of drugs if the original isn’t available locally at a reasonable price, regardless of whether they are under patent.   Mr Deekers, who has previously described India's patent laws as 'essentially theft', said: 'We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for western patients who can afford it.'   Nexavar, which is also known as Sorafenib, has been approved for the treatment of kidney cancer, advanced liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), and thyroid cancers that are resistant to radioactive iodine treatment.   Currently a kidney cancer patient would pay $96,000 (£58,000) for a year's course of the Bayer-made drug. However the cost of the Natco version would be around $2,800 (£1,700).

Mr Deekers later posted a comment on a Forbes magazine blog claiming he regretted the way the comment was received.

  He wrote: 'I regret that what was a quick response from me within the framework of a panel discussion at the recent FT Pharma conference has come across in a different way as it was meant by myself.  

'However, I was particularly frustrated by the Indian government’s decision, to not protect a patent on Nexavar that was given to us by the Indian patent authority.

Ref : http://www.dailymail.co.uk