Competition Commission urged to urgently conclude cancer meds probe

This week, the Competition Commission announced that it is probing pharmaceutical companies, Aspen, Pfizer and Roche for various suspected transgressions.

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JOHANNESBURG - In the wake of alleged excessive pricing of certain cancer medication in South Africa, cancer patients and relatives have appealed to the Competition Commission to urgently conclude its investigation into the matter as many people are in desperate need.

This week, the Competition Commission announced that it is probing pharmaceutical companies, Aspen, Pfizer and Roche for various suspected transgressions.

At the same time, on Wednesday an Italian court fined pharmaceutical giant Aspen €5.2 million plus interest after an appeal relating to its portfolio of oncology products distributed in that country was dismissed. Aspen was found to have used its dominance in the market while negotiating prices with that country’s drug regulator.

Cancer patients and relatives have told Eyewitness News they hope the investigation into alleged overpricing of the lifesaving medication will wrap up soon as they can’t afford the medication that can save their loved one’s lives.

“I’m really hopeful and hoping that something can come out of the investigation. The medicines are too expensive… we can’t afford it anymore.”

The Cancer Alliances’ Salome Meyer has called the Competition Commission to also investigate alleged price-fixing in the sector.

“We also have knowledge of other drugs and other companies that we will also take to the Competition Commission to investigate.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)