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Make breast cancer drugs affordable, Praja Arogya Vedika urges Union government

January 23, 2023 11:35 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:11 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

The Praja Arogya Vedika (PAV) has expressed concern at the increasing cases of breast cancer in the country and urged the Union government to take immediate measures for its control and providing treatment to patients.

In a letter to the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandviya, PAV general secretary T. Kameswara Rao and president M.V. Ramanaiah noted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a report said that 100.5 per 1,00,000 women were being diagnosed with breast cancer.

This shows one in every 22 women are suffering from breast cancer. The figure is estimated to go up from the present 1,82,000 cases to 2,50,000 by 2030. Luminal A, the most serious type of invasive breast cancer, and comprises the bulk of breast cancer cases. The report also specifies that only half the cases of breast cancer are treated successfully.

The sale of Ribociclib in 2018 was 8,299 units while the same has risen to a whopping 38,910 in the year 2020. The drugs necessary to treat this condition i.e.; Ribociclib, Palbociclib and Abemaciclib are too expensive and unavailable at an affordable price because these are patented drugs.

They sought introduction of Ribociclib, Palbociclib and Abemaciclib as part of the free treatment programme under the National Cancer Control Programme, Central Government should invoke compulsory a licence under Section 84, 92 and 100 of the Indian Patent Act to facilitate free and affordable access to these three cancer medicines through generic production.

They said that in the past, the government had issued compulsory licence in the case of the Kidney Cancer Drug, Nexavar. As a result, the drug which was earlier available at a very high price of ₹2, 87,000 was reduced to ₹8,800 by NATCO pharma. They sought that similar steps need to be taken in case of the drugs for treatment of breast cancer, so that the cost of treatment is reduced considerably, thereby bringing the medicines within the reach of the common people.

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