7 February 2017
The Lawyers Collective joins people living with cancer and health groups across the world who are demonstrating today to call attention to the unethical and inhuman behaviour of Swiss multinational company Roche in denying access to trastuzumab which is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. First and foremost, Lawyers Collective condoles the death of Tobeka Daki. We were deeply saddened to hear of her passing in November last year. We salute Tobeka’s courage in fighting for access to trastuzumab not just for herself but for thousands of women in South Africa who are forced to run from pillar to post by Roche’s profiteering. We join our friends and colleagues in mourning for Tobeka and pledging to work towards fulfilling her vision of access to trastuzumab and other cancer medicines for all women who need them.
A key concern for women living with cancer who need this and other biologic cancer medicines is the availability and affordability of biosimilar versions of trastuzumab. Most patients in search of affordable medicines turn to India and although trastuzumab biosimilars are now available in India, Roche is using multiple litigations to thwart and discourage biosimilar manufacturers from entering the market. We provide an overview of the situation in India below.