Pharmaceutical companies and public health advocates worldwide are keeping an eye on a legal case in India, in which pharmaceutical giant Bayer is appealing a decision by the Indian patent controller to override the company’s monopoly on its cancer drug Nexavar.
If upheld, the decision will allow an Indian company to produce and sell the drug for the equivalent of $173 U.S. dollars a month, the Financial Times reports.
Bayer’s pricing would put the medicine’s cost at about $5,500 a month – beyond what most people could afford in a country where the per capita income is the equivalent of $1,064.
Many public health advocates have accused German corporation Bayer of price gouging, at the potential expense of people whose lives might depend on a cheaper, generic version of the drug.
This isn’t the first time that health advocates have leveled criticism at Bayer.
In more than 10,000 lawsuits, plaintiffs claim Bayer failed to adequately warn them that its birth control pills bring an increased risk of potentially fatal blood clots, strokes and pulmonary embolisms.
Of concern are birth control pills containing the synthetic hormone drospirenone, including Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz and Ocella. The most common serious injuries from these drugs are blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, strokes, or gallbladder removals.
According to the Financial Times, Bayer’s case is among the most closely watched of several attempts by major pharmaceutical companies to contest India’s patent laws. Indian government officials have a long-standing policy of encouraging generics producers to come out with medicines that average Indians can afford.
The report quotes Leena Menghaney, a lawyer who manages Médecins Sans Frontières’ campaign on access to medicines nationally, as saying: “It’s turning into big pharma versus India; whether it’s Indian companies, the Indian government or Indian patients.”
If you believe you have suffered an injury from taking Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz or Ocella, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.
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