A group of more than 100 leading cancer physicians from around the world, including nine from the UK, accuse the drug industry of “profiteering” – making a profit by unethical methods such as by raising the cost of grain after a natural disaster.
The high prices mean the drugs may not be approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the UK forcing doctors to fill in a 14 page application apply to the Cancer Drugs fund for British patients who could benefit from them
An example given is Glivec by Novartis. The cost of Glivec has risen from £18,000 (2001) per patient per year to around £21,000 in the UK, and from $30,000 to $92,000 in the US. This is despite the fact that all research costs were covered by the original price, and the number of patients treated and the length of time they are on the drug have both vastly increased because of the drug’s success.
The company thinks the cost is “high but worthwhile” and was estimated to yield annual revenues of $900 million, enough to cover its development cost in two years. A decade later Its annual revenues in 2012 were $4.7 billion (£3 billion).