A cancer medication called Xtandi costs $189,800 per year and was developed with taxpayer dollars. The U.S. government has a responsibility for ending the exclusive patents that give them their profits. The Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering whether to allow the generic manufacturing of Xtandi, which could drop the price of a pill from $400 to $3 overnight.
When drug makers like Xtandi’s manufacturer, Astellas Pharma, price gouge sick Americans, the U.S. government is responsible for ending the exclusive patents that give them their profits. A 2021 study estimated that 250,000 American men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer that year. Prostate cancer is the fifth most common cause of death among cancers―and it has the widest racial disparities of any form of cancer.
Black men in America experience the highest prostate cancer rates in the world. For Hispanic or Latino men in the U.S., prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis. This means that the costs of Pharma’s greed are borne primarily by men of color. Lowering Xtandi’s outrageous price in the United States is a matter of racial justice.
As the rate of prostate cancer incidence increases with age, meaning that the price gouging takes a toll on Medicare’s finances as well. From 2015 to 2019, Medicare spent $5.2 billion on Xtandi. The Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering whether to allow the generic manufacturing of Xtandi, which could drop the price of a pill from $400 to $3 overnight.
Under the law, the Biden administration has the authority to act. All it needs is the courage to act. Under the Bayh-Dole Act, federal agencies are granted “march-in rights.” Essentially, if certain circumstances are met, the government can act (“march-in”) and use its authority under the Bayh-Dole Act to grant a license to generic drug manufacturers to produce a drug in the United States-in this case,,, a generic version of Xtandi.
Charging American cancer patients up to five times more for a medication whose invention was 100% paid for by the American people and researched at a public American university-in this case UCLA-is not “reasonable.”
It’s time for President Biden to act. This financial gouging cannot continue when it affects so many minorities. Why the media has been so silent is questionable.