Cipla slashes prices of three key cancer drugs

Indian low-cost drug manufacturer Cipla Ltd on Thursday slashed the prices of its key drugs for the treatment of three types of cancers that affect kidney, lungs and brain.

Commentators say the move is bound to ruffle the feathers of established MNC drug majors who make a killing on patented cancer drugs.

Cipla will now make available Sorafenib, the generic drug used for the treatment of cancer that affects the kidney, to Rs6,840 per dosage form from the Rs27,950 earlier.

Natco, which recently received a compulsory licence for making a generic copy of the drug on payment of a prescribed royalty to its innovator Bayer, on the other hand, sells it at Rs8,900 per dosage form, while Bayer itself sells its branded Sorafenib (Nexavar) at Rs2.8 lakh.

Cipla also slashed the price of 'Gestinib', the drug used for the treatment of lung cancer by 60 per cent to Rs4,250 from Rs10,200. `Gestinib' is the generic equivalent of Astra Zeneca's branded drug 'Iressa.'

The company also reduced the prices of its brain tumour drug Temozolamide, a generic form of Schering's innovative drug. Cipla makes the generic drug available in three strengths.