Bayer CEO Says Drugs Developed For “Western Patients Who Can Afford It”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Pratap Chatterjee
Global Research
February 10, 2014

Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant, is in hot water after CEO Marijn Dekkers told a Financial Times conference that the company designed medicines “for western patients who can afford it” not for the “Indian market.” The company has been critical of the Indian governments efforts to make cheap generic drugs available locally.

(A video of Dekkers’ remarks can be seen here, go to 18:30)

Bayer has been deeply critical of the March 2012 decision by the Indian Supreme Court to allow Natco Pharma, an Indian company, to sell sorafenib tosylate, a cancer drug for under $200 a month. The German company sells Nexavar, a branded version of the same drug, for over $8,000 a month, marked up ostensibly to cover costs for drug development. (India’s average per capita monthly income is just under $100)

Dekkers’ statement was roundly condemned by activists. “Drug companies claim to care about global health needs, but their track record says otherwise,” said Dr Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the access campaign of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). “Pharmaceutical companies are singularly focused on profit and so aggressively push for patents and high drug prices.”

In the U.S. companies are issued 20 year patents, after which the drug becomes available for anyone to make. India long refused to recognize international patents on essential drugs in order to keep prices affordable, but changed its laws to accept patents, as part of an agreement to join the World Trade Organization in 2005.

The Rest…HERE

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