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Roche not to pursue patent for breast cancer drug in India

Amidst concerns for high prices of life- saving drugs, Roche, a Swiss multinational, has decided not to pursue renewal of patent on its breast cancer drug which costs as high as around Rs9 lakh for a course.

Savita Verma | August 17, 2013 | Updated 10:13 IST

Amidst concerns for high prices of life-saving drugs, Roche, a Swiss multinational, has decided not to pursue renewal of patent on its breast cancer drug which costs as high as around Rs9 lakh for a course.

The decision is likely to lead to production of cheaper versions of the drug which will make it more affordable for the suffering women.

The drug, Trastuzumab or Herceptin is known to be very useful on a particular kind of breast cancer. It reduces the risk of cancer recurrence.

However, the drug costs around Rs 9 lakh for a minimum course of 12 injections. Thus, the drug is out of reach for most women.

" Roche has come to the conclusion not to pursue Indian Patent No. 205534 ( the secondary patent) and the related divisional applications. This decision takes into account the strength of the particular rights and the intellectual; property environment in India in general," Roche said in a statement e- mailed to Mail Today. "Roche remains committed to working with the Indian government to address public health needs. Critically, we believe ensuring access to innovative medicines such as Herceptin is a complex issue and that significant progress will only be made through ongoing close collaboration between the government, industry and care providers without compromising bio similar approval requirements or intellectual property rights that are needed to incentivise research efforts against diseases," it said.

Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab, a group representing over 200 Indian and global patient associations, has been demanding government intervention to enable the production of cheaper versions of the drug.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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