CHENNAI: In a major step to make cancer treatment for patients and their families, the retail prices of many anti-cancer drugs, including commonly usedchemotherapyinjections for lung cancer treatment, have been slashed by up to 87% by the drug price control authority
After reviewing the data manufacturers, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s May 15 memorandum has brought nine anti-cancer drugs in its price control framework. NPPA is a independent body of experts under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers that monitors and controls drugs prices in India.
As per the revised order, themaximum retail priceof chemotherapy injection pemetrexed (500mg), sold under the brand name Pemxcel and used to treat lung cancer, has come down from Rs 22,000 to Rs 2,800. A 100mg dose of the same injection will now cost Rs 800 against Rs 7,700 now.
The retail price of another common chemo drug,epirubicin(brand name Epichlor), will be Rs 276.8 for a 10mg injection against Rs 561 and Rs 960 for a 50mg injection against Rs 2,662.
The price of erlotinib tablets, sold as Erlotaz, will cost Rs 1,840 for a pack of 10 of 100mg strength, against the old price of Rs 6,600, and Rs 2,400 for a 10-tablet pack of 150mg power against the old price of Rs 8,800 .
Similarly, the price of everolimus (brand name Lanolimus) of strengths 0.25mg and 0.5mg have been brought down to Rs 406 and Rs 739 from Rs 726 and Rs 1,452 respectively.
The price of leuprolide acetate hormonal therapy (brand name Leuprogon Depot), commonly administered to cancer patients, has come down from Rs 2,650 to Rs 3,990 “Most of these are commonly used in many cancer therapies. The cost cut will be extremely beneficial to patients, specially those who spend out of their pocket, “said Apollo Specialty Hospital senior oncologist Dr. T. Raja.
This is the second time that the NPPA has announced a price cut on anti-cancer drugs since March. In February, it is called the public interest under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, 30% through trade margin rationalisation, capping trade margin. At least 72 formulations and more than 390 brands
Although major drug manufacturers did not comment on the ramifications of the price cut, health industry spokespersons said the companies had not been able to cut down on production volumes.
Patient groups and organizations are happy “My doctor has told me that the reduction in medicine cost will bring down my chemo bills drastically. I will have to see my bills to know how much it will be, “said 56-year-old Arunachalam V, a banker. He has had medical insurance but he was exhausted “Any price cut is good for patients like me,” he said.
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