The Competition Commission on Tuesday announced that drug companies Aspen Pharmacare, Roche and Pfizer are being investigated for allegedly keeping the prices of their cancer-drugs artificially high.
Prof Michael Herbst, in-house specialist researcher, the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) tells Stephen Grootes, host of The Midday Report that the cancer drugs under investigation are extremely important for South African cancer patients.
They are generics and meant to be cheaper than the original products.— Prof Michael Herbst, in-house specialist researcher, Cancer Association of South Africa
What happens, is, companies will come up with a new medicine. They've got their patent on it and once the patent expires, a group like Aspen will come in, take the recipe and produce en masse.— Prof Michael Herbst, in-house specialist researcher, Cancer Association of South Africa
Herbst says it is unfortunate that such incidents occur and that the Competition Commission is now responsible for looking after the interests of vulnerable South Africans.
He says he often hears people's stories who are without health insurance and who cannot afford to purchase their medication due to the high costs.
Take a listen: