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Roche launches 'Tarceva' for lung cancer patients

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Mumbai, Apr 11 (UNI) Roche Scientific Company today launched a drug 'Tarceva' to treat small cell lung cancer in India.

Company Managing Director Dr G L Telang said, ''Tarceva is the only epidermal growth factor receptor to have demonstrated a survival benefit in lung cancer.'' Non small cell lung cancer accounts for almost 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases and there are few treatment options available.

He said that not only Tarceva demonstrates a striking survival benefit in advaced on-small cell lung cancer by six to nine months but also has shown a significantly improvement in the quality of patients' life by allevating severe and delibitating symptoms that are characteristics of advanced disease.

Dr Telang said that curretly most people with lung cancer are treated with chemotherapy, which can be very debilitating due to its toxic nature but Tarceva works differently by specifically targeting tumour cells, thus avoiding the typical side-effects of chemotherapy.

He further said, a ten tablet strips costs Rs 32,000 plus the prevailing taxes that will cost a patient over Rs three lakhs for a three-month course.

He said that presently patient's have to bear high financial costs-both in terms of direct and indirect costs like hospital care, lost working days etc. But this can be saved by using the new drug, he emphasised.

He said the company had approached the ministry to get tax exemption on Tarceva drugs enabling it to cut down the prevailing costs by about 35 per cent. He added, ''The ministry has promised to look into the matter.'' UNI PVN KU RL ND1626

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