AstraZeneca Korea said Thursday it would continue pricing negotiations for its lung cancer drug, Tagrisso, saying they are “cooperating with health authorities to provide better treatments for lung cancer patients.”
The remarks came amid the public’s suspicion of and patients’ protests to the possibility the English-Swedish pharma giant may go ahead without government reimbursement or even pull the drug out of the market due to pricing disagreements.
AstraZeneca Korea has reportedly called for doubling the price of a competitive drug, Olita, priced at 2.6 million won ($2,300) a month, according to local news reports. The disagreement between the company and the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service has prolonged the negotiation process that typically finishes within 60 days.
In its defense, the company stated that they “set the price of Tagrisso to the lowest level in the world in Korea so that domestic lung cancer patients get treatments as soon as possible.”
“If Tagrisso does not receive reimbursement, 700 patients currently taking Tagrisso and around 1,000 newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with an EGFR T790M mutation each year will lose the chance to receive treatment with the only drug that has confirmed excellence and safety,” the company said in a press release.
AstraZeneca Korea emphasized there were no treatment alternatives for patients with central system metastases, which account for around 40 percent of all lung cancer patients.
Tagrisso is the world’s first EFGR T70M mutation-positive NSCLC treatment that demonstrated a two-fold prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate in large-scale clinical trials, the company said. The drug has proven to be the only drug effective in patients with metastasis within the central nervous system.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has recommended the therapeutic agent over other immunotherapies to treat cancer, it added.
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>