Friday, October 17, 2008

Roche Cuts Price of Tarceva in UK

After UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) agreed to pay for Roche’s anticancer drug Tarceva on the condition that Tarceva should matched the price of an older, less costly remedy Taxotere, Roche discounted Tarceva by about $ 1000 in order to bring the cost in line with Taxotere (Docetaxel) marketed by Sanofi-Aventis. Earlier, NICE ruled that four drugs used to treat kidney cancer – Roche’s Avastin, Bayer’s Nexavar, Pfizer’s Sutent and Wyeth’s Torisel – are not cost effective for treating advanced or metastatic kidney cancer and should not be prescribed to new patients. However, NICE decision caused outrage among charities and patients. Importantly, there are reports (link 1, link 2) that Tarceva is significantly improved medication in prolonging life and quality of life.

Tarceva UK’s development is an example of fair negotiation between Health Agency and Innovator. Access to life-saving drugs at reasonable price can only be possible if there is constructive platform for mutual discussions between drug agencies and innovators. Not only innovators have resources to improve quality of life but also a moral responsibility that their drugs should reach across the globe to the patients who are in need of them. Reciprocally, Government should also make policies to safeguard business interests and provide incentives to innovators in brining effective and life-saving drugs.

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