I was dismayed to read the article (Campus Notebook, Dec. 8) regarding the University’s legal action, in concert with Eli Lilly and Co., to keep the cancer drug Alimta from being made available as a generic drug for an additional five years. If the University and Eli Lilly are the winners in this case, who are the losers? I would propose that the losers are the lung-cancer patients who are being charged $2,800 per dose (see drugstore.com) for their treatments. Alimta received FDA approval and patent protection in 2004 and — until Princeton received a patent extension — it was due to become available as a generic in 2011, which would lead to a much lower cost to the patient.
Now, it will not be available as a generic until mid-2016, preserving the University’s profits but harming patients in the process. It is likely that the standard seven-year period of patent protection has been enough to cover the development cost of the drug. It certainly provided enough profits to the University to pay for Frick Chemistry Lab. It is disheartening to see the University harming low-income patients and contributing to the high cost of American health care in this way.