Roche launches two new breast cancer drugs in India

Swiss biotechnology major Roche has launched two new medicines in India for treating breast cancer that seek to increase longevity for patients and improve their quality of life.

The drug maker is also taking steps to ensure the medicines are easily available to those in need.

The new drugs, 'Perjeta' and 'Kadcyla', have been shown to both extend survival and improve quality of life in their approved applications for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, Roche Pharma India said.

"The introduction of these therapies is a significant milestone in the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in India and reaffirms our commitment to bring Roche's innovative medicines to patients in India as quickly as possible," Roche Pharma India Managing Director, Maturin Tchoumi said.

These targeted medicines represent a completely new way to treat HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, with which the company aims to help women in India live as long as possible, he added.

When contacted for the prices of these new drugs, a Roche's spokesperson said: "We recognise the differing healthcare needs of different countries and have adopted a differentiated approach in pricing for these medicines in India."

Without sharing the details of prices, the spokesperson added, "as a developer of medicines, we realise that we have a responsibility to work with other key stakeholders to ensure that patients can benefit from our medicines".

"We also have a robust plan in place to ensure that our innovative medicines are available to those in need through our patient assistance programmes," it further added.

The company said it recognises that one of the key hurdles in access to optimal standard of care treatment for cancer patients is availability of funds.

"We have a unique Patient Support Program, The Blue Tree, which is a comprehensive programme and aims to support patients all through their journey from diagnosis till treatment completion," the spokesperson said.

With its targeted breast cancer medicine Herclon (globally known as Herceptin), Roche has helped transform the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer over the last several years in India, the company said.

Roche Products (India) Private Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Switzerland based Roche Group and has products in therapeutic areas such as oncology, virology, transplantation, anemia and rheumatoid arthritis.

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