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Consumer Group Calls for Fair Pricing of Drugs Developed With Taxpayer Grants
Santa Monica, CA -- Genentech posted a 48% profit increase today for the first quarter of 2006 following a recent announcement that the company would double the price of its cancer drug, Avastin, to over $100,000 per year for many patients.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on the Bush Administration to require Genentech to reduce the cost of Avastin to reflect the federal government's taxpayer-funded investment in the drug's development. Avastin was paid for in part through taxpayer grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 100 clinical trials. Nationally, approximately 44% of all health research is funded by taxpayers.

"Companies like Genentech are brilliant at socializing the risk of drug development, but they're greedy capitalists when it's time to privatize the profit," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "The case for regulation of drug prices becomes even stronger when you realize that life-saving drugs like Avastin are developed on the American taxpayers' dime."

U.S. sales of Avastin increased 96% to $398 million in the first quarter of 2006, up from $203 million in the first quarter of 2005.

Genentech announced the price increase for Avastin following approval for the drug to treat breast and lung cancer.

The price increase will mean that lung cancer patients will pay $8,800 a month for the drug and breast cancer patients will pay $7,700 a month compared to $4,400 per month currently paid by colon cancer patients.

Under a federal law called the Bayh-Dole Act, prescription drugs developed with taxpayer dollars must be made available at "reasonable terms." This provision has never been enforced.

"The drug industry dispensed $30 million in campaign contributions during the last election -- including $1 million to George W. Bush's campaign. No wonder Congress and the Bush Administration have turned a blind eye to drug company profiteering at the expense of patients," said Flanagan.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org