The CEO of Bayer, Marijn Dekkers, recently said that his company’s new drug that treats late-stage kidney and liver cancer isn’t “for Indians,” but “for Western patients who can afford it.”
The new drug, Nexavar, costs about $69,000 per year in India, but in 2012 an Indian court ruled that an Indian company, Natco Pharma Ltd., could produce the drug at a discount of 97 percent, offering it for just $177.
Under Indian laws, if a product is not available locally at a reasonable cost, Indian companies can apply for permission to reproduce the product at a lower price.
During an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Dekkers said the Indian court's ruing was “essentially theft,” and added, “We did not develop this medicine for Indians… we developed it for Western patients who can afford it.”
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In the US, Nexavar costs $96,000 per year, but Bayer says that Americans can have it for a $100 copay, noted Forbes.
The drug company Bristol-Meyers Squibb told Bloomberg Businessweek that it is “deeply concerned with the deteriorating protections for patented innovative medicines in India.”
The United States International Trade Commission is planning to investigate “Indian policies that discriminate against U.S. trade and investment."
According to Nature.com, the group Doctors Without Borders found that most pharmaceutical companies spent only 3.8 percent of their budgets to fight diseases that kill millions of the world’s poor.