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Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 in the U.S. Costs $2,500 in India

Chemotherapy

Story at-a-glance -

  • Gleevec, a drug used to treat leukemia, costs $70,000 a year in the US but only $2,500 in India
  • This costly price gap exists thanks to US patents that prevent competitors from making and selling lower cost versions; such patents do not exist to the same extent in India
  • The fight over patentability and drug prices is really only distracting from the much bigger issue at hand, which is the value of the drugs themselves
  • Today we look back and scoff at the therapies that our not-so-distant ancestors embraced, some of which were recently found to contain poisons like mercury, lead and arsenic, but modern-day medications are still a leading cause of death

By Dr. Mercola

Gleevec, a drug used to treat leukemia, costs $70,000 a year in the US but only $2,500 in India. This costly gap exists thanks to US patents that prevent competitors from making and selling lower cost versions.

Such patents do not exist to the same extent in India, and, in fact, just this month India’s highest court again rejected an application to patent the cancer drug – a move that likely would have sent prices soaring.


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