Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers explains: Nexavar cancer drug is for "western patients who can afford it"
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/24/2014 by MizIndependent in NSBR Board
 

MizIndependent
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:20:41 PM
Businessweek.com: Merck to Bristol-Myers Face More Threats on India Drug Patents From the article:

Under India's patent laws, compulsory licenses can be awarded for some products still under patent if the original isn't available locally at a reasonable price.

Natco Pharma Ltd. (NTCPH) applied directly to India's patents office and was awarded the nation's first compulsory license in March 2012 to make a copy of Bayer's Nexavar cancer drug at a 97 percent discount to the original product. In March last year, Bayer lost its bid to stop Natco from making the generic drug and is appealing the decision at the Mumbai High Court.

Bayer Chief Executive Officer Marijn Dekkers called the compulsory license "essentially theft."

"We did not develop this medicine for Indians," Dekkers said Dec. 3. "We developed it for western patients who can afford it."
This is just sickening. Business and medicine do not mix, at least morally. Profiteering off the suffering of others...I will never buy a product from Bayer again.



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Lumo
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:29:29 PM
Disgusting.


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Tishy
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:31:47 PM
Oh my God that is just sick. How hateful of that CEO.




PierKiss
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:31:49 PM
Holy crap!

So, who else makes aspirin these days? In the event I need some I would like to go with a non Bayer brand.

busypea
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:37:48 PM
Well, Bayer still isn't making the drug for Indians. They are still making it for western patients who can afford it. Another company is making for the Indians who can't afford it. If Bayer isn't interested in the Indian market, why are they trying to defend their patent there? (Not a serious question, really, just making a point.)

From a business perspective, I understand where he is coming from, but to put it in those terms is just horrifying.

Spongemom Scrappants
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:43:57 PM

If Bayer isn't interested in the Indian market, why are they trying to defend their patent there?

Is it possibly because they have a manufacturing plant there making the drug? (I don't know that; I'm just conjecturing.) It would be even more cringe-worthy if they are using cheap Indian labor to make the product and then denying it to those same people in lieu of the Western market that "can afford it."








Cupcake
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:56:01 PM
I will be very interested to hear what DH thinks of this. He worked with Marijn for years. (He's working now or I'd ask him... it will have to wait until tonight!)

I have no idea why Marijn would say such a thing, but there is definitely something wrong with how all of this works. The drug companies spend billions over long periods of time to fund research, trials, etc. all in the hopes of possibly bringing an effective drug to market, only to have their product copied and sold cheaply by someone who didn't invest a dime in the process. It's a cycle; they bank on those profits to fund future research. On the other hand, the cost of medications is downright ridiculous, both here and abroad, and medications in general are barely affordable for many both here in the US and elsewhere. There has GOT to be a better way.

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Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 1/24/2014 1:58:01 PM
I would have liked to hear his comments - which were apparently said during a panel discussion, in full context. He has apologized, and stated "I regret that what was a quick response from me within the framework of a panel discussion at the recent FT Pharma conference has come across in a different way as it was meant by myself."

I am not a fan of lifting out responses that don't provide it in context. And for record, I agree that allowing another company to manufacture a product under patent without the authorization of the company holding the patent, is theft.

SDeven
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Posted: 1/24/2014 2:23:22 PM
Medicine, particularly medical advancements, would not exist without business.

It would be so nice if medicine were free but it's just not. There is a cost.






MizIndependent
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Posted: 1/24/2014 2:47:20 PM

It would be so nice if medicine were free but it's just not. There is a cost.
Yes, but if they reserve this only for "those who can afford it", isn't that kind of a bad business move?

One would think you could easily recoup the costs via volume selling. As of 2012, there were 1.237 billion people in just India. Even if only 1% of that population has cancer, that's still over 12 million patients, or 4% of the current US population.



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Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 1/24/2014 3:28:16 PM

One would think you could easily recoup the costs via volume selling. As of 2012, there were 1.237 billion people in just India. Even if only 1% of that population has cancer, that's still over 12 million patients, or 4% of the current US population.


FYI this is a drug for liver cancer - not any cancer. India's rate of liver cancer is about 1/100,000. So you're talking about a pool of about 12,000 patients. And an investment of somewhere between $250 million and $2 billion - depending on who you believe from an R&D spending standpoint. And trying to recoup that while the patent is still enforceable (which clearly in India isn't even relevant). Big Pharma is accused of a lot of things - not understanding volume pricing, is probably not on the list.


BrinaG
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Posted: 1/24/2014 4:27:35 PM

If Bayer isn't interested in the Indian market, why are they trying to defend their patent there? (Not a serious question, really, just making a point.)


I realize you say not a serious question, but a serious answer - because people will buy it there cheap and bring it into countries where the patent is still valid and sell it on the black market.

While the sentiment is distasteful, when a company spends years and many millions of dollars developing a medicine they are given a patent to recoup the expenses. If more countries are going to allow cheap knock-offs to be sold fewer companies are going to invest in R&D.

MochiMochi
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Posted: 1/24/2014 4:54:25 PM
How dare they develop medications expecting to sell them and recover development costs + turn a profit, and then have the audacity to try to defend their patents.

Really. Despicable.

/sarcasm

Truly, he misspoke, I hope, and made himself sound like an arrogant racist. I believe what he meant to say was they didn't develop that medication to sell at 3% of its price. They made it to sell at the price that it is. Drug discovery and development is not a charity. It just isn't.


If Bayer isn't interested in the Indian market, why are they trying to defend their patent there? (Not a serious question, really, just making a point.)


You can't allow patent infringement or you run the risk of selling none of the product and/or not getting your sunk costs back. Then you go out of business and there are no new drugs at all. IMO, what India is doing is local and legalized patent infringement. In no time at all, that company will be selling knockoff drug worldwide.

cdnstorelady
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Posted: 1/24/2014 5:45:03 PM
I wonder if what's got prople so riled up is that he said "patients". What if it was the CEO of Louis Vuitton fighting against a knockoff LV bag maker who said their "purses were for Western women who can afford them...."

Plus there are many drugs, and medical procedures that many Western patients can't afford now....we talk about all the time on this board...I don't see the difference...



delilahtwo
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Posted: 1/24/2014 5:50:16 PM
I can't believe you are comparing a purse to medication. If we were talking Viagra here then fine. But this is a drug that can prolong the life of cancer patients.

These drug companies are making a fortune and are more than recouping their costs. By far. Maybe they should stop spending all their money on slick advertising and reduce the prices.

These drug companies are not in it to improve peoples lives. They just want to make tons of money and a happy side effect is a product that can improve or save lives.

cdnstorelady
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Posted: 1/24/2014 6:02:14 PM
My point is, regardless of the item, purse or medication, there will always be some people who can afford the highest end items and those who can't. Medications are generally developed by for profit companies and most have patient assistance programs to some degree or another.

If you want companies who develop drug to them forgo profits so that everyone can afford them, then you'll destroy the pharmaceutical industry as we know it.


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Posted: 1/24/2014 6:03:56 PM

Yes, but if they reserve this only for "those who can afford it", isn't that kind of a bad business move?


So it's a better business move to give it away to those that can't afford it? I mean if we are talking "business moves" and all. Because investment outlay = profit seems like how business is supposed to work.

If someone wants to come along, wait for the patent time to expire and then invest in production of a generic drug and market it for little to no profit (or even at a loss) then that's their right. But I don't think that any non-governmental company that invests its own funds in development should be called evil because they want to make a profit on their investment.


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Burning Feather
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Posted: 1/24/2014 6:05:38 PM

I will never buy a product from Bayer again.




But you will be happy to buy from another company that is essentially taking the research that Bayer invested in and is marketing the same drug? Because without Bayer, the other companies would not have the drug either.

Besides, it's much like the people that say they will never shop at Walmart "except I buy diapers there because they are cheaper." Because I'm pretty sure that you WOULD buy that drug from Bayer if an alternative wasn't available and you both needed it and could afford it.





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SDeven
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Posted: 1/24/2014 7:37:51 PM
You could choose to see Bayers side from a different perspective : because certain people can afford to pay for a premium medicine, Bayer is a profitable company employing many, making new medical strides and giving to help others through their foundation.

Bayer Foundation






Georgiapea
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Posted: 1/24/2014 7:38:25 PM
Wow! They might as well have said "We don't want anyone from India to have access to this drug".

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Posted: 1/24/2014 7:45:29 PM
Wow.

*ingrid*
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Posted: 1/24/2014 9:02:59 PM

You could choose to see Bayers side from a different perspective : because certain people can afford to pay for a premium medicine, Bayer is a profitable company employing many, making new medical strides and giving to help others through their foundation.



This is the same company that sold HIV-contaminated plasma, found out it was contaminated, pulled it off US shelves but continued to sell it in Asian and Latin American countries to bring in money and clear out stock. Thousands of people died or were infected with HIV. This company has a history of despicable practices. I have a difficult time swallowing the idea that giving help to others is at the top of their list of priorities.




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busypea
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Posted: 1/24/2014 10:02:39 PM

You can't allow patent infringement or you run the risk of selling none of the product and/or not getting your sunk costs back. Then you go out of business and there are no new drugs at all. IMO, what India is doing is local and legalized patent infringement. In no time at all, that company will be selling knockoff drug worldwide.

I was being sarcastic, for the record. It's obvious why they are defending their patent and I think they should.

The guy seriously needs to be more cautious with his words, but I don't begrudged them defending their investment.

People in business too often talk in overly practical terms and forget the human element. We should all be more cognizant of human impact of our when we are discussing our business.
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