Marijn Dekkers could probably use some PR training, but I think the crux of his argument is valid.
That sounds pretty dickish as a stand alone statement, but it was almost certainly made in the context of a larger statement or conversation. Bayer spent vast resources to bring a drug to market and that market was not suffering people with no money. It’s cold and seems unkind but Bayer is not an NPO.
The entire concept of patents is based on the premise that people and corporations should be given the opportunity to benefit financially from their work. The patent holder is required to fully disclose their process in exchange for a finite period of exclusive financial benefit. The concept is sound but the implementation is messy, which of course is a problem as common as dirt.
Bayer claimed US$ 2.5 billion in R&D costs bringing Nexavar to market. Here is an article that supposes $296 million is probably being generous. However, an article that concludes with:
is probably not written by an unbiased party. Pharmaceutical development is not the private domain of corporations but it’s certainly better served by them than by public research at this point in time. Corporations aren’t in business to break even and benefit humanity, they exist to earn profit. If they can do so and benefit humanity at the same time, we’re all better off.
It would be nice if pharma manufacturers worked harder to make their patented drugs more available to patients at lower profits to countries and individuals who otherwise couldn’t afford them, but gray market redistribution makes this problematic at best and frankly, they’re under no obligation to do so.
Regarding this particular situation, I think India, as a World Trade Organization member, was wrong to issue a compulsory license to Natco to manufacture a Nexavar equivalent. WTO member countries shouldn’t feel entitled to ignore core values when they’re inconvenient.