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Roche to sell cheap, localised cancer drugs in India

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding plans to offer cut-price versions of two blockbuster cancer drugs for the Indian market soon, a company spokesman said on Friday, days after the government moved to slash the price of another cancer treatment.

business Updated: Mar 23, 2012 23:27 IST

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding plans to offer cut-price versions of two blockbuster cancer drugs for the Indian market soon, a company spokesman said on Friday, days after the government moved to slash the price of another cancer treatment.

The patent office stripped German group Bayer of exclusive rights to Nexavar earlier this month and licenced a local company to produce a cheap, generic version, on the grounds that the poor could not otherwise afford the life-saving drug. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/3/24_03_12-buss25d.jpg

Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, said it would offer “significantly” cheaper, locally branded versions of its two cancer drugs, Herceptin and MabThera, by early next year, under an alliance with Emcure Pharmaceuticals.

“The scope is to enable access for a large majority of patients who currently pay out of pocket as well as to partner with the government to enable increased access to our products for people in need,” said Daniel Grotzky, spokesman, Roche.

Monthly doses of Herceptin, for breast cancer, and MabThera, for cancers of the blood and lymph system, cost around $3,000 to $4,500 per patient at wholesale prices. “With this strategy, we expect to significantly increase the number of patients treated with our therapies and help patients currently under treatment to continue to use our products properly,” he added.

The Swiss company said the cheaper versions would be renamed for the Indian market and be packed by Emcure Pharmaceuticals in an effort to gain marketshare.