Here is a good news for breast cancer patients! The price of a life-saving breast cancer drug named trastuzumab is now capped by the government at Rs 55,800 per injection. This is more than 25% less than Roche's drug Herceptin which costs Rs 75,000 per dose. The price changes are effective immediately.
This is the first time that NPPA, the drug pricing regulator, has fixed the cost of a biological breast cancer drug. Pegylated Interferon is the second significant medicine used for cancer patients and hepatatis C treatment brought under price control with a ceiling price of Rs 14,515 per 100 mcg.
Earlier, key medicines used in Hepatitis B and C, cancer were added to the National List of Essential Medicines and is followed by price revisions.
An activist and lawyer,Leena Menghaney says the NPPA move may not be very beneficial. "Pharma companies charge high premiums for branded biological medicines such as anticancer drug, trastuzumab to maximise profits. The current system devised by NPPA of fixing prices based on an average MRPs of the brands in the market works against patients and consumer interests and leaves essential medicines out of reach for most.The ceiling price for the breast cancer drug trastuzumab listed by the NPPA is Rs. 55812 for 440 mcg and does not bring any relief to patients and their families who are going into debt or going without the treatment due to the costs.”