Target: Marijn Dekkers, CEO of Bayer
Goal: Provide accessible and affordable cancer treatment to patients in non-Western countries
Last month, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers made some troubling comments regarding accessibility of the Bayer cancer treatment drug Nexavar. Though the drug is still under patent by Bayer, Natco Pharma was awarded a compulsory license in India to manufacture a generic version of Nexavar at a 97% discount. The license was awarded because the original drug wasn’t available locally at a reasonable price. In response, Marijn Dekkers stated that Bayer “did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for Western patients who can afford it.”
It is delusional that Dekkers believes $96,000 USD per year is a reasonable cost to Indian patients for cancer treatment drugs, but it is downright appalling that he would intentionally withhold life-saving treatment from people in need. Pharmaceuticals should be made for patients, not for profits. Even so, Bayer would not be losing a significant number of patients to Natco given that so few non-Western patients could afford the non-generic version of the drug at its exorbitant rates. That has not stopped Bayer from appealing the Indian government’s decision to allow Natco to produce the drug, stating that it is “essentially theft” from the German pharmaceutical powerhouse.
Say no to corporate chiefs lining their pockets with the profits from life-threatening illnesses. Sign the petition below to send a clear message to Dekkers–it is not okay to ration healthcare to the wealthiest patients.
Dear Marijn Dekkers,
You were recently quoted making some insensitive and ethnocentric remarks regarding the compulsory license for the cancer drug Nexavar. I am appalled that you would elect to intentionally withhold treatment from patients with a life-threatening illness. It is of the utmost urgency that you allow Natco Pharma to create a generic replica for non-Western cancer patients.
Cancer is not solely a concern of the Western world, and though it may be a profitable disease for major pharmaceutical companies, treatments should not be created to the exclusion of low-income or non-Western patients. By maintaining a stranglehold on the Nexavar formulation, you are effectively rationing healthcare and leaving the majority of liver and kidney cancer sufferers out in the cold. If you refuse to adjust your costs for an international marketplace, then please don’t stand in the way of others providing much-needed medical treatment. I request that you drop your appeal to the Mumbai High Court’s decision and allow a generic replica of Nexavar to be created and distributed to those in need.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Pollo via Wikimedia Commons