Mumbai: After the Indian government recently lifted a patent license, Indian pharma major, Cipla, has announced a massive reduction of up to 76 per cent in its cancer drug prices.
Following the move, the price of Cipla's generic kidney cancer drug, Sorafenib, will be available at Rs 6,840 a month from the earlier Rs 27,950.
The lung cancer drug Gestinib price has been cut down by 60 per cent to just over Rs 4000, instead of earlier Rs 10,200.
Temozolamide, a very effective brain tumour treatment drug has come down to Rs 5000 from the original Rs 20,250.
"It is a wonderful move, because lots of patients were not able to buy these drugs, but now they will be able to afford," said Dr Sanjay Sharma, Onco Surgeon, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai.
For 58-year-old Mumbai resident Popat Yadav, an advance stage liver cancer patient and factory worker, cancer care has meant a whopping burden of Rs 50,000 a month in treatment.
"It is good that medicine prices have come down, but they should come down further. Middle Class people still can't afford so much," said his daughter Jyoti Yadav.
Meanwhile, Cipla has said "This initiative of price reduction is a humanitarian approach by Cipla to support cancer patients".
However, experts see this as a competitive pricing issue, as in March, the government lifted the patenting license and allowed domestic drug maker Natco Pharma to manufacture and sell the generic version of Bayer's patent-protected cancer medicine, Nexavar.
"It's a ripple effect - there can be further deduction in terms of prices if the demand is high," said Pharma expert Vikas Dandekar.
Notably, according to the World Health Organisation, more than 2.5 million Indians are diagnosed with some form of cancer every year.