Cancer survivor's petition pleads with Roche for lower Kadcyla price

Drugmakers are accustomed to grappling with government payers and PBMs over prices. They're used to getting the stiff arm from cost-effectiveness watchdogs like those at the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). They're even used to the critics at patient-access organizations.

But a pricing fight directly with patients? That's not your everyday occurrence.

A U.K. cancer survivor has gathered almost 30,000 signatures on a petition asking Roche ($RHHBY) to lower the price of its new breast cancer treatment Kadcyla. The breakthrough armed-antibody therapy is priced at about $94,000 for a 9-month course--or almost $150,000 when used as designed, alongside Roche's other new breast cancer drug, Perjeta.

The online petition's signatories are from all over the world, and some include comments alongside their signatures. A few are coolly rational--drug prices need to cover the cost plus a reasonable markup, one said--but others are emotional tirades. Not the sort of conversation drugmakers want to hear about themselves and their products online.

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