New Delhi: An international organisation working for cancer-affected people has asked the Obama administration not to pressurise India to reject a compulsory license on a drug for a rare form of leukaemia, which would be a de facto endorsement of an excessive price.
In a letter to the US Trade Representative (USTR), Mike Froman, Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT), opposed the policies that promote high cancer drug prices throughout the world.
UACT in its letter refers to recent reports suggesting that USTR is pressuring the Indian government to reject a compulsory license on dasatinib, a drug for a rare form of leukaemia.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) price for dasatinib is more than USD 100 per day, which makes it unreachable for the majority of leukaemia patients in India.
US government opposition to a compulsory license on dasatinib is a de facto endorsement of an excessive price, and will have predictably harsh consequences for leukaemia patients. who have developed resistance to imatinib.
The UACT letter also challenges the assumption that USTR is advancing the US interests by promoting stronger monopolies of medicines.
While BMS attempts to justify high cancer drug prices on the grounds that R&D is expensive, BMS in fact spent little on the R&D for dasatinib and benefited extensively from US government research subsidies, including NIH-funded research and clinical trials, and a 50 per cent tax credit on the BMS funded trials, it said.