Colombia finalizes 44% price reduction of leukemia drug Glivec

The Colombian Ministry of Health has finalized the price reduction of Glivec, Novartis’s +$47 billion leukemia drug, with a decrease in price from 368 pesos per milligram to 206.42 pesos per mg.

The price reduction uses a recently-created methodology specific to the regulation of prices in cases where the public interest has been declared, as was the case for Glivec. According to the Ministry, that methodology uses reference pricing from 17 countries (including Colombia) where there is competition between name brand and generics, and chooses the lowest average price.

In an interview in Stat (paywall), Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria acknowledged that the price reduction would not alone solve the health budget sustainability problems, “But it sends a clear message that we are not going to tolerate abuses.”

KEI statements on the reduction:

“Despite considerable pressure from Switzerland and the United States Congress and Obama’s executive branch agencies, Colombia has finally decreased the price of the Novartis cancer drug Glivec. Novartis has already earned nearly $50 billion from this ‘orphan’ drug.” – James Love, Director for Knowledge Ecology International

“The price reduction on Glivec in Colombia is a demonstration that excessive prices are not set in stone. The option to issue the compulsory license gave the government more leverage. Other countries will look to this case as an example of how reconcile patient access with the realities of budget constraints, and act to lower excessive prices for cancer and other diseases.” – Andrew S. Goldman, Counsel for Knowledge Ecology International

KEI background FAQ on the Colombia Glivec case: http://www.keionline.org/colombia-imatinib-FAQ

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