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Asda to sell cancer drugs on 'not-for-profit' basis

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LEEDS, U.K. A retailer in the United Kingdom said Thursday it would become the first to sell cancer drugs to customers at cost.

Asda, one of the country’s largest retailers and a division of Walmart, said it would sell the drugs on a “not-for-profit” basis. For example, AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug Iressa (gefitinib) will sell for $3,112.73, compared with prices ranging from more than $3,734.92 to $4,671.97 at other retailers, based on present currency exchange rates.

“The crippling cost of paying privately for cancer treatments has forced many people to spend their savings or even re-mortgage their house to pay for these essential drugs,” Asda superintendent pharmacist John Evans said. “We are the first retailer to recognize this injustice and to do something about it, and we are calling on other retailers to follow our lead.”

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