Monday, April 28, 2008

Expensive colorectal cancer drug to go on sale

From the Globe and Mail:
A pharmaceutical company that refused to market one of the world's most expensive cancer drugs due to a cost dispute will sell its medicine to Canadians after all – at a price lower than it had wanted.

Marc Osborne, spokesman for Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, confirmed that cetuximab will be marketed some time this year at a price agreed to by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

But he said the decision to launch had largely to do with studies showing the drug can prolong the lives of metastatic colorectal cancer patients, in addition to patients with certain head and neck cancers.

“The price issue is behind us,” Mr. Osborne said in a telephone interview from Montreal. “We're going to work at making sure it's available to Canadians beyond the special access program.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada took the unusual move about two years ago of deciding not to launch the drug because the price it wanted to charge was found to be too high by the federal board that regulates the cost of patented medicines to ensure they are not excessive. ...more

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