Roche accused of charging too much for Herceptin in South Africa

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele announces Roche being investigated for alleged excessive pricing (source  Competition Commission of South Africa)
Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele announces Roche being investigated for alleged excessive pricing (source Competition Commission of South Africa)

Related tags: Breast cancer

Roche has been accused of charging too much for its breast cancer drug trastuzumab by South African competition authorities.

Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele accused Roche and Genentech Inc. of engaging in “excessive pricing, price discrimination and exclusionary conduct in the provision of breast cancer medicine in South Africa​” in a press conference today.

Roche sells trastuzumab as Herceptin and Herclon in South Africa. According to Bonakele, a 12-month course of Herceptin costs around ZAR 500,000 ($39,066) which he said limited access to the drug.

As a result of exorbitant prices, most breast cancer patients in both the private and public sectors are unable to get treatment​” he said, adding that “the Commission has reasonable grounds to suspect that Roche and Genentech may be charging excessive prices…to the detriment of consumers and in contravention of the Competition Act​.”

According to Bonakele patents held by Roche and Genetech, which cover trastuzumab as well as combinations of the drug and chemotherapeutic agents, could block preclinical development of a biosimilar product until 2033.

He also said: “Information in possession of the Commission gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that the Respondent [Roche] may be engaging in exclusionary conduct in order to prolong its hold on breast cancer drugs​.”

Bonakele suggested Roche may be using ‘ever-greening’ – making minor modifications to its patent in order to gain an extension – to delay the entry of biosimilar versions of the drug.

Roche told us it "has not received a formal notification by the Competition Commission in South Africa. In case we receive a formal notification, we will be cooperating with the authorities and will provide all required information while responding to the potential allegation​."

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

dPCR Case Study

dPCR Case Study

CellCarta | 08-Aug-2022 | Case Study

Streamline your adoptive cell therapy program with digital PCR. Our team has a unique expertise in digital and quantitative PCR to support you in ensuring...

The Reagents Behind Much of Molecular Biology

The Reagents Behind Much of Molecular Biology

Thermo Fisher Scientific | 25-Jul-2022 | Case Study

The ability to amplify, modify and fabricate DNA is fundamental to modern molecular biology. Why do so many researchers take their constituent parts for...

Fill-Finish Biologics

Fill-Finish Biologics

Curia | 16-May-2022 | Technical / White Paper

The clinical value of biologics for the treatment of many disease indications has been accompanied by phenomenal sales. By 2026, the global market for...

Microsampling in Early Phase Drug Development

Microsampling in Early Phase Drug Development

Altasciences | 10-May-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Microsampling significantly lessens the volume of blood and plasma/serum that is collected and analyzed to determine circulating concentrations of therapeutic...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars