Tomorrow more than 50 women living with cancer will join 500+ activists from the Treatment Action Campaign, Cancer Alliance, SECTION27, MSF, and other members of the Fix the Patent Laws coalition at a picket outside pharmaceutical company Roche. We will be highlighting our ongoing concerns over the excessive price of breast cancer medicine trastuzumab.
The picket will be in memory of Tobeka Daki. An activist who had been leading this call in 2016 but who sadly passed away without ever getting the chance to access trastuzumab.
In South Africa Roche holds multiple patents on trastuzumab (Herceptin) that may block more affordable biosimilars coming to market until 2033. Currently it costs around ZAR 211,920 for a year’s treatment course in the public sector and is only available in very limited circumstances. It is excluded from prescribed minimum benefits of private medical schemes because of the cost. Other developing countries face similar problems in accessing affordable trastuzumab.
In other parts of the world where the patents have expired, Roche is using different means to block access including litigating against biosimilar versions.
We stand with women with breast cancer and activists across the world to say “Roche Greed Kills”.