[Ip-health] MSF responds to reports on Gilead pricing for hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir in developing countries

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Fri Feb 7 02:59:41 PST 2014

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.

Médecins Sans Frontières responds with the below quote:

"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."

Rohit Malpani, Director of Policy and Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontières
Access Campaign.

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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