Published on: August 11, 2011

“The poor man’s lack of health is industry’s wealth!”

Mr Suresh thaliyaril, a palliative care volunteer and organizer from D.Nip Care in Delhi wrote to Pallium India to ask,

A patient is getting Letrozole 2.5, the cost of 30 tablets:

  • “Letroz 2.5”  from Sun Pharmaceuticals, more than Rs.800
  • “Letrozole 2.5” from Cipla: around Rs. 150

Is there any difference in the quality of these tablets? Which is better?

The patient needs the tablets on a long term basis. Kindly advice.

We unhesitatingly advised Mr Suresh Thaliyaril to go for the cheaper brand, which too is from a reputed company. A difference of more than 500%!

Our search for a possible reason for this disparity did not lead us to an answer, but took us to some other interesting news reports:

  1. Illegal promotion of Letrozole in India” – from 2003 alleging that the drug which was approved only for cancer was being illegally marketed for promoting fertility among Indian women (letter written by the editor of MIMS India)
  2. Sun Pharma’s letrozole under DTAB lens” – A report from DNA (Daily News & Analysis) which says that the then Drugs Controller General of India in 2007 authorised sale of Letrozole by Sun Pharmaceuticals for infertility and that Central Government’s Drugs Technical Advisory Board (which is investigating drugs which are banned globally but permitted for sale in India) will go into this too.
  3. A price list from Medline India which shows that there is yet another brand, Femara, which costs Rs. 5,445 for 30 tablets – 36 times more than Cipla!

Mr Suresh Thaliyaril, we salute your humanity which made you go into the cost of the drug and its impact on the patient and family. You have a lesson to teach the medical fraternity!

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