Taxpayers pay twice for crucial drugs like Avastin | Letters

Big pharma companies are charging over the odds for medicines developed with public funding, writeHeidi Chow andTabitha HaIt is shocking, but not surprising, that big drugs companies are threatening to sue the NHS for using cheaper versions of drugs that could save people from going blind (Drug firms trying to stop cheap eye treatment on NHS, 1 November). Another part of this story is that the two medicines in question – Lucentis (known generically as ranibizumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) are based on the groundbreaking discovery of monoclonal antibodies, whichwere developed with UK public funding.The NHS itself funded the trials to show that off-licence use of Avastin is as good as Lucentis, a finding that benefits patients not just in the UK but also globally. So the taxpayer is paying twice, first for public investment in the original research and clinical trials and then for the high prices being charged by the pharmaceutical companies. It is high time for conditions to be attached to publicly funded research and development to prevent these excessive profits and ensure crucial drugs are accessible and affordable for all.Heidi ChowGlobal Justice NowTabitha HaSTOPAIDSContinue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: NHS Drugs Medical research Science Health Society Pharmaceuticals industry Business Blindness and visual impairment Disability Source Type: news

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