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MSF responds to reports on Gilead pricing for hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir in developing countries

In a Hindu BusinessLine article dated 3 February 2014, Gilead indicated it would charge $2,000 per 24 week treatment course for the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir that was recently approved by both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.  Gilead also indicated it is in negotiations with several generics manufacturers based in India to sign voluntary licenses that would allow for sales of sofosbuvir in only 60 developing countries.
In the US, Gilead has set the price for this drug at $84,000 per treatment, or $1,000 per pill.

“The price Gilead says it will charge for sofosbuvir in poor countries is still far too high for people to afford.  When you’re starting from such an exorbitant price in the US, the price Gilead will offer poor countries may seem like a good discount, but studies show it’s very cheap to produce this drug, at around $68 to $136 per 12 week treatment course.

The voluntary licence that Gilead is offering in India is unnecessary because there is currently no patent for sofosbuvir in the country. Companies do not need a licence agreement from Gilead to start producing the drug in India, and we believe a patent opposition filed in the country will result in Gilead failing to get a patent there. 

The big question is what will the company charge in countries they classify as ‘middle-income’ that are almost all going to be excluded from Gilead’s voluntary licensing strategy, and where the heaviest burden of the disease lies, but 75% of the world’s poor live?  
If we want to see hepatitis C treatment scaled up globally, we are going to need much lower prices in all countries with a high burden of the disease. We know from our experience treating HIV over the last decade and a half that treatment needs to be simple and affordable—full hepatitis C treatment and diagnosis needs to be available for no more than $500 per person. We are treating a small number of patients with the disease in India, but want to expand treatment to more people in more countries, and having affordable access to this drug will be crucial.” 

RohitMalpani, Director of Policy and Analysis
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/ Doctors Without Borders Access Campaign.    
 

Hepatitis C: A Call to Action from MSF Access Campaign on Vimeo.

Page updated: 7 February 2014
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