Indian drug giant Cipla slashes cancer drug prices

May 4, 2012 by Penny MacRae

Indian drugs giant Cipla said Friday it has slashed by up to 76 percent prices of generic medicines used to treat brain, lung and kidney cancer in what the company called a "humanitarian move".

There are 2.5 million cases of diagnosed in India each year, according to the World Health Organisation, with most patients receiving inadequate treatment as drugs are priced beyond their reach.

"This initiative of price reduction is a humanitarian approach by Cipla to support cancer patients," company chairman Y.K. Hamied said in a statement, which added the price reduction would be only for drugs sold in India.

"Drugs constitute a significant proportion of the overall cost of cancer treatment and a reduction in costs can greatly relieve the burden," he said.

Cipla cut the price of Soranib, a generic version of Bayer's blockbuster drug Nexavar by 76 percent, and will sell it at 6,840 rupees ($130) for a monthly dose, down from 28,000 rupees.

It also said the lung-cancer drug Gefticip, originally produced by , would be priced at 4,250 rupees, down by over half, and it cut by three-quarters the price of brain-cancer drug Temoside, originally made by Schering, to 5,000 rupees.

Cipla, one of India's largest generic drug makers, makes its at its Goa plant, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The family-led company first hit headlines in 2001 when it offered to supply life-saving triple therapy cocktails at prices sharply below those of multinational firms with Hamied saying the move was for "social reasons".

Competition among generic manufacturers in India, known as the "pharmacy to the developing world", has reduced prices from $10,000 per person per year to $150, Medecins Sans Frontieres says.

Cipla, which has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Bayer over its right to produce , said cancer drugs were a small part of its business and the price cuts would not affect revenues.

But analysts said the step could prompt a price war in the 15-billion-rupee Indian drug market -- challenging multinationals which sell costly patented medicine and Indian firms whose generic range is less expensive but not as cheap as Cipla's.

"This market is price-sensitive and when larger players start cutting prices, others will likely follow," Sudarshan Padmanabhan, pharmaceutical analyst at Mumbai investment house Prabhudas Lilladher, told AFP.

Shares in Cipla, whose market value is around $5 billion, rose 2.46 percent to 325.20 rupees on the back of an "outperform" rating by brokerage CLSA, as a falling Indian currency swells foreign earnings and its domestic market grows.

Cipla's step may not only help cancer patients, but "they will reach many more patients, and will also be able to garner greater market share", Anjan Sen, healthcare director at consultancy Deloitte, told the Economic Times.

"It's a smart move."

Explore further: Bayer mulls challenge to India cancer drug ruling

Related Stories

Bayer mulls challenge to India cancer drug ruling

March 13, 2012
Bayer AG said Tuesday it was mulling ways to challenge a ground-breaking Indian ruling allowing a local firm to produce a vastly cheaper copy of a cancer drug made by the German pharmaceutical giant.

India licenses generic copy of patented Bayer drug

March 12, 2012
(AP) -- India effectively ended Bayer's monopoly on a patented cancer drug Monday, licensing a much cheaper generic under a unique law aimed at keeping costs affordable.

India patent case threatens cheap drug supply: MSF

September 5, 2011
Supply of cheap, copycat drugs for the developing world could be badly threatened if Swiss firm Novartis wins a challenge to India's patent law, medical charity MSF said on Monday.

NGOs protest Novartis' Glivec patent quest in India

February 23, 2012
Several NGOs protested Thursday at the annual meeting of Novartis against the attempt by the Swiss pharmaceutical group's India company to obtain a patent for its anti-cancer drug Glivec.

FDA panel backs Pfizer drug for kidney cancer

December 7, 2011
(AP) -- A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted Wednesday that the benefits of a Pfizer kidney cancer drug outweigh its risks, according to a company spokeswoman.

Novartis fights patent rejection in Indian court

September 6, 2011
(AP) -- In a case that could affect India's role as drug provider to the developing world, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday over whether the government had the right to deny a patent to Swiss drugmaker Novartis ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.