Cipla cuts price of generic Tarceva, Xeloda, Taxotere by up to 64 percent in India

Cipla has cut the price of three cancer drugs in India by between 50 percent and 64 percent, including a generic version of Roche's Tarceva (erlotinib). The Indian drugmaker sells the lung cancer therapy under the brand Erlocip and indicated that a pack of 30 tablets will now cost 9,900 rupees ($182), down from an earlier price of 27,000 rupees ($459).

The Delhi High Court recently dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Roche over Cipla's generic version of Tarceva, with the court ruling that although the Swiss drugmaker's patent on the product is valid, Erlocip doesn't infringe that patent. Cipla chairman Y.K. Hamied suggested that such cases have allowed the company to reduce prices as previously when Indian drugmakers sold medicines at low prices, doctors and patients suspected their quality.

Hamied added that the price reductions were also possible because of backward integration and the opening of a new factory dedicated to making raw-materials for cancer drugs. The price of the company's 20-milligram generic version of Roche's Xeloda (capecitabine), which it sells as Capegard, has been cut from 3,300 rupees ($61) to 1,650 rupees ($30), while the cost of a generic version of Sanofi's Taxotere (docetaxel), marketed as Docetax, has been reduced from 1,200 rupees ($22) to 600 rupees ($11).

In May, Cipla cut the price of generic versions of Bayer's Nexavar (sorafenib) and Merck & Co.'s Temodar (temozolomide) in India by 75 percent, and also dropped the cost of its generic version of AstraZeneca's Iressa (gefitinib) by 60 percent.

Hamied also repeated his plea to the Indian government for a pragmatic compulsory licensing system. "I should have the automatic right to copy any product and pay a 4 percent royalty (to the originator of the drug)," he said.

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