By Richard McColl
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Ongoing negotiations between the government and a pharmaceutical giant regarding the price of a leukaemia drug are at a dead end, and no agreement will be reached, Colombia’s health minister has said.
“This stage is over, there is no longer any space for a joint agreement, these negotiations have broken off definitively,” Andres Gaviria said during a conference Thursday.
After two weeks of negotiations between the government and Swiss drug maker Novartis over the price of Imatinib-Glievic, used to treat a certain type of cancer, Gaviria said he will now take extraordinary measures.
“What happens now is that the government will unilaterally declare the drug as of public interest, with a prevailing objective, that of a unilateral set price,” he said.
Each 400-milligram pill costs 129,000 pesos ($44). In negotiations, Colombia offered Novartis $19 per pill – a price rejected by Novartis.
The company said in a press release that it had not yet received any official announcement from the Colombian authorities.
“Novartis will never close its doors to finding a solution which is of benefit to both sides and in particular for patients in Colombia,” the company said.
Although Gaviria has not yet set a date for when the drug would be declared as being in the public interest, he suggested that it would be in the coming days.