A cancer patient took to the streets Wednesday to protest against AstraZeneca’s possible pulling of its lung cancer therapy, Tagrisso, out of the Korean market because of drug pricing disagreements.
An online cancer patient community also submitted a signed petition to the government, requesting additional discounts on the drug and increased drug accessibility.
AstraZeneca and regulatory authorities here have been locked in pricing negotiations over the lung cancer drug that should have been over last week, causing rumors that the English-Swedish pharma giant may withdraw the drug from the domestic market.
Tagrisso (ingredient: osimertinib) is a third-generation targeted lung cancer therapy that got the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s marketing approval in May and gained the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service’s (HIRA) evaluation committee’s approval in August. The final stage, which regularly takes 60 days, is the drug pricing negotiation.
The problem is HIRA and AstraZeneca are still tied down in pricing disagreements that should have been finalized last week. The pharma giant is reportedly demanding more than twice the ministry’s suggested price of 2.6 million won ($2,300) a month.
“If we can’t narrow our differences at the last negotiation, we have no other choice but to give up the insurance coverage,” an AstraZeneca Korea official said last Friday.
Rumors that the company will take Tagrisso off the Korean market are unsettling lung cancer patients.
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