Roche Therapeutic - Product Scorecard

Company: Roche

Type: Covid-19 Therapeutic
Product (brand name): Tocilizumab (Actemra)
0%
compliance
with criteria
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Explore the results of PAF’s research into the behaviour of Roche. Each section is given an overall score; individual criteria are also scored (see icon following the criteria heading).

Click on ‘Explanation about the score’ sign next to each entry to expand and learn more.

Category A: Commitments and Accountability

The company should publicly commit to human rights in relation to product development and marketing, by adopting an official human rights policy statement recognising the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The company should endeavour to integrate human rights into its strategies, policies, programmes, projects, and activities.

The company should also have a publicly available global access plan for their Covid-19 product, based on human rights standards, with measurable targets and lines of accountability.

A1: Does Roche publish a global access plan for its product?

Roche states on its website: Roche is working urgently to accelerate manufacturing capacity to maximize production of Actemra wherever possible with the goal of increasing available supply globally. While Roche is ensuring a coordinated, global overview of additional supply requests, provision of medicines is managed on a country level according to local rules and regulations and in close collaboration with the authorities.” 

“Roche is calling on governments across the world to work closely with industry to keep manufacturing and supply running, and to help us meet demand across the globe: Ensure the free flow of vital goods across national borders to keep manufacturing and supply running; Consider pragmatic temporary adjustments to regulations on packaging, reviews, customs etc, to expedite delivery of urgently needed medical supplies; Work together across governments internationally, in order to balance global needs.” 

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A2: Does Roche commit to comply with human rights standards in relation to product development and marketing?

Roche supports the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights documents

It has a comprehensive human rights strategy which includes conducting risk-based due diligence, providing the right to a remedy (grievance mechanisms) and conducting impact assessments.

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Category C: International cooperation

The company should constructively engage with international initiatives for the equitable distribution of vaccines and therapeutics, such as the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) or the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), and the ACT Accelerator (COVAX). The company should also publicly commit to not enforcing the exclusive rights of Covid-19 related patents, and enter into non-exclusive, transparent licensing agreements for its Covid-19 products with other companies.

C1: Does Roche commit to C-TAP or MPP?

Roche is considering tie-ups with the MPP ‘or other voluntary patent pools’

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C2: Does Roche commit to not enforcing the exclusive rights of Covid-19 related patents?

Roche and Chugai, holders of Tocilizumab-related patents, announced they would not be asserting any patents against the use of the drug during the Covid-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries 

Roche also proved good faith by not pursuing the legal dispute with manufacturer Hetero over tocilizumab patent rights and backing the Indian EUA for treatment of Covid-19  

However, Roche continues to pursue a patent evergreening strategy; it thus enjoys de facto monopoly over the market through secondary patents.

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C3: Does Roche supply to, or signs agreements with, the vaccines or therapeutics pillar of the ACT Accelerator?

Roche has committed up to 250 000 doses of Actemra at cost to WHO and ACT A partners.

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C4: Does Roche agree to license its Covid-19 medical products to other companies?

Roche has entered into commercialization and distribution deals with Cipla (India). Its statement on non-enforcement of patents allows other manufacturers to produce Actemra without having to ask for a licence.

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Category E: Equality, non-discrimination & equity

The company should engage in efforts to further equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines/therapeutics, by equitably distributing its supplies globally, devising fair pricing strategies, and making the active ingredient for its product available to other manufacturers. The company should also engage in full technology transfer to other manufacturers, including the necessary transfer of skills, legal components, knowledge and intellectual property. Where applicable, the company should agree to waive rights in regulatory test data, and refrain from enforcing TRIPS+ measures.

E1: Does Roche make the active ingredient available on reasonable grounds? [Only for therapeutics]

Roche has made an agreement with Novartis for technology transfer to produce the active ingredient for Actemra

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E2: Does Roche commit to full technology transfer to other manufacturers?

Roche’s patent waiver allows other companies to produce the drug without having to ask for licenses or pay for it. However, other intellectual property and information is necessary to test and make the drug. Roche indicated it would cooperate in this regard – the agreement with Novartis for technology transfer to produce the API for Actemra shows good faith.

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E3: Does Roche commit to non-profit, ‘fair’, or differential pricing?

Relief web finds that Tocilizumab is sold at 410 US dollars in Australia, 646 US dollars in India and 3,625 US dollars in the USA per dose of 600mg for COVID-19. Manufacturing costs are estimated to be around 40 US dollars per dose of 400 mg,  ‘given that the manufacturing costs of monoclonal antibodies are often below $100 per gram when produced on a large-scale.’

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