Dealing with the cost of cancer treatment in India: Are patents the problem? | SpicyIP
Jun 22, The surging incidence of the disease and rising treatment costs make it be Rs lakh, including investigations, surgery and radiotherapy. Get Radiation Therapy cost from certified hospitals in Bangalore. Get assistance from medical experts to select best hospital for Radiation Therapy in Bangalore. Guys, you want to have good treatment at low cost with the best care and good doctors, go to Baptist Hospital. I can tell you that because I have been there when .
In order to boost the WBC count, the oncologist had prescribed a dose of generic medicine Peg-Grafeel manufactured by Dr. Reddy, which was priced at around Rs. Therefore, each cycle of chemotherapy along with supporting medicine and diagnostics used to cost approximately Rs. Six cycles would cost Rs.
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Together, the two cycles of radiation for this particular patient cost approximately Rs. Therefore the total cost of the first battle with cancer was thus in the neighbourhood of approximately Rs. That was the good news. The bad news is that Herceptin is probably one of the most expensive drugs in the world, costing approximately Rs.
Depending on the weight of the patient, the normal course prescribed is around doses spread over a period of one year. Cumulatively that comes to around Rs. The first six doses of Herceptin are usually given in tandem with conventional chemotherapy — the TCH treatment — the conventional chemotherapy done with generic medicines is approximately Rs.
The six cycles of chemotherapy plus the peg-grafeel comes up to Rs. I think it is an unfair practice but then again who are you going to complain to? Added to the cost of chemotherapy is radiation, which can range between Rs.
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Cumulatively therefore, the cost of the treatment can cost approximately Rs. You would think that without a patent and a promise of a huge margin even for a generic version, Indian pharmaceutical companies would be lining up to mass-produce Herceptin.
Do you know how many generic versions of Herceptin are available in the market? Given that the European patents on Herceptin are set to expire sometime aroundit would mean that the technology has been in the market for around years. Herceptin, like Pegasus an earlier drug that we discussed on this blogare both biologics, a class of drugs distinct from the conventional chemistry based drugs.
Therefore despite Indian companies technically having the opportunity to manufacture both Herceptin and Pegasus under CL provisions not a single company has forayed into the field. As I discussed above, the treatment of the male patient with lung cancer, even with generic medicines, came up to Rs.
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Therefore, forget the poor citizen, even a middle class citizen of this country is unlikely to be able to fund his cancer treatment, even with generic medicines, just out of his pocket.
The most certain retort to this argument would be that even developed countries are able to pay for expensive cancer treatment only through private insurance or public funded health programs. In the last few years there has no doubt been an explosion in the health insurance market. With high costs, cancer treatment is out of the reach of millions Photo: Aditya Kapoor Doctors are concerned at the growing number of cancer cases in India.
Although there is no nationwide data, estimates extrapolated from the Indian Council of Medical Research's cancer registry programme in some areas indicate there are about one million new cancer cases each year. A Planning Commission report estimates that about 2. The number of cases is expected to go up because of an increase in life expectancy, changing lifestyles and risk factors such as high tobacco use.
Visit any cancer hospital in the country and there are dozens of people from little children to the elderly dealing with the trauma of the disease. Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital, one of the leading cancer care hospitals in India, registered 56, cases last year.
Dr Mohana Vamsy, a leading surgical oncologist and founder of Omega Hospitals, says he sees about new cases a month today compared with around three years ago. While the incidence of cancer is rising, insurance is a big stumbling block. Only a small fraction of Indians has health insurance and those who do rarely have critical illness cover.
Worse, the insurance cover that people choose is often so low that it is meaningless for diseases such as cancer. Of the 40 million individual policies sold inthe average amount per policy was just Rs 1. A higher Rs lakh policy would mean a Rs 17, to Rs 50, annual premium, depending on the age of the policyholder. Aditya Kapoor One way to bring down the crippling costs is through compulsory licensing of cancer drugs, which allows drug companies to make generic versions of patented medicines at cheaper prices.
Last year, the Indian Patent Office allowed Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to manufacture a generic version of Bayer's Nexavar, a drug used to treat certain types of kidney and liver cancers. Natco launched the drug at just Rs 8, for a bottle of tablets compared with Rs 2. Venkateswara Rao is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
He has already spent Rs 5 lakh on treatment and expects the final bill to be around Rs 10 lakh Photo: Prabhakar Rao But not everybody in the industry agrees with compulsory licensing. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Limitedsays the government should look at price controls and bulk procurement of some expensive imported drugs as a way to lower prices. She adds that multinational companies should opt for a dual pricing policy in developing economies.
The cost also depends on the number of scans required for the patient. Most health insurance plans cover it; however sometimes the patients need to pay for a few processes of the treatment. It is always better to have a clear discussion with the hospital office regarding their policy and how the health plan can be implemented before starting the treatment.
Unfortunately, the cost of Radiation is drastically going up currently making it difficult for patients belonging to a lower income group. How are different types of Radiation Therapy given?
In the external radiotherapy the doctor first specifies the area that is to be treated. This comes under a process called simulation in which the radiation therapist uses a CT scan or an MRI machine to define the treatment field or port.
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Radiation beams are aimed very specifically on the marked region. When the radiation is given, a leg mold or mask is used to keep the patient static in one position. The mark should not be removed as it is required until the treatment is over. It is positioned in a way that it affects the normal cells as less as possible. In this type of surgery a higher dose of radiation is given to a smaller area, which is always not possible in external radiation therapy.
In brachytherapy the biological name for internal radiation therapy two methods of radiation therapy are used: The implant is placed in a specific cavity of the body like rectum or uterus.
The implant is placed in the tumor itself or very close to the tumor. This type shows early results and is more commonly used.
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Different kinds of implants are used in internal radiation therapy that include seeds, balloons, tubes, pellets, wires, needles, or capsules.
Do I need to get admitted for Radiation Therapy? The patient undergoing external radiation therapy needs not stay in the hospital.
It is generally given during outpatient visits. It also does not take much time; minutes is enough for a session of external radiation therapy. For internal radiation therapy the patient often stands a chance of emitting radioactivity which is detrimental to other people. How much time is required for Radiation Therapy? It takes very little time. It requires 15 minutes to 30 minutes.