India has almost no choice but to over-ride drug patents. $18,000 for one course of breast cancer-fighting treatment is like 10 Lakh Rupees. Even when some drugs are priced at $140 per month, that still comes out to over Rps 8,000. These are astronomical sums for poor people.
Alka Kudesia's story is heart-breaking, and it's no surprise that pharmaceutical companies are worried by an Indian drug company's plan to begin manufacturing a generic version of Herceptin.
As it stands now, about 23,000 Indian women need Herceptin, but they cannot get it.
Dr. Peter Bach's comment is smug, insensitive, and not entirely true. There's always been pressure on highly profitable pharmaceutical companies to stop exploiting the sick and frail. Among African countries, there have been pressures for Big Pharma to lower drug prices. That India forsakes begging for lower drug prices and opts instead to over-ride patents reflects how pharmaceutical companies wrongly put profits over people.
Maybe India can over-ride many other patents and set up new drug factories -- and be the change we need to see in revolutionizing global access to live-saving medications ? Crowd source it, maybe you might find helpers.