The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently slapped a Rs 63.5 crore fine collectively on GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur for attempting to collude to share a Union Ministry of Health tender for a meningitis vaccine and inflate prices. Indian health authorities have been immunising Indians performing Hajj, or the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, against meningitis since 2002. The case, which dates back to 2011, appears to be a great lesson in how not to tender.
What should’ve been a straightforward process for a single product with the same three suppliers year after year, took on the appearance of a farce with the tender being floated thrice over, more than one lawsuit, a disgruntled local producer and two vilified multinationals protesting their innocence. And to top it all, the guilt or lack of it of the Union Ministry of Health appears still open to question. Continue reading
I’d like to introduce a guest column by Salil Kallianpur, a healthcare marketing professional with experience in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. Salil is an avid reader and follower of healthcare current affairs, its politics, and strategies. He comments on the intersection of healthcare and life on his blog My Pharma Reviews. He is based in Mumbai. The views in this article are his own and not those of his employer, a pharmaceutical organisation.
The price of medicines has always been a matter of animated, even acrimonious, debate. Most of the time, activists assume that the only way to solve social challenges is through government and charity and that the only purpose of business and investing is to make money. Responsible sections of the pharmaceutical industry reject that worldview. Consider this.
Swiss drug maker Roche reduced the price of its blood cancer drug Mabthera by 50% in South Africa. Sanofi slashed prices on its diabetes drug Lantus and its cancer treatment Taxotere in the Asia-Pacific region. Eisai cut prices of its Alzheimer’s drug Aricept in 6 Asian countries and GSK cut prices on “essential” drugs by 40% to 50% in Kenya.
These recent Big Pharma attempts at tiered pricing in the developing world signal a deviation from the age-old strategy of recovering research costs through high prices.
What’s changed? Continue reading