Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pharmaceutical industry's bitter pills

According to Richard Gold, a law professor at McGill University in Montreal, the US pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is holding Canadian colorectal cancer patients hostage. The company refuses to sell its colorectal cancer drug Erbitux in Canada because the country's independent Medicine Prices Review Board considered the price the company charged too high by international comparison.
Gold argues that the government has a moral obligation to the citizens it represents to threaten the company with issuing a compulsory license for its product in order to ensure a fair price to the company and to Canadians.
Quite remarkable that BMS should try to hold a whole patient population hostage in order to achieve its profit objectives in a particular market.
[Globe and Mail, June 21, 2006, A17]

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