[Ip-health] New York Times: Poor Nations Seek New Hepatitis C Drug

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Wed Feb 12 04:27:40 PST 2014


New York Times
Poor Nations Seek New Hepatitis C Drug

FEB. 10, 2014

By  DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/donald_g_jr_mcneil/index.html>
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/health/poor-nations-seek-new-hepatitis-c-drug.html?rref=health&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Health&pgtype=article&_r=0

Now that wealthy nations have a simple pill regimen that can cure hepatitis
C<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/business/fda-approves-pill-to-treat-hepatitis-c.html?_r=0>,
calls are mounting from representatives of poor nations for the same drugs.

In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved sofosbuvir, from
Gilead Sciences. Under the brand name Sovaldi in the United States, it is
expected to cost $84,000 per treatment. Four other companies are developing
similar pills expected to reach the market in the next three years, with
similarly high price tags.

Worldwide, at least 150 million people -- nearly five times the number with
H.I.V.<http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/aids/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier>--
are believed to have hepatitis
C<http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/hepatitis-c/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier>,
which can cause liver damage and
cancer<http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier>
.

The Access Campaign of Doctors Without Borders has
estimated<http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/01/06/cid.ciu012.full.pdf+html>that
cocktails of sofosbuvir and similar drugs can be made for $250 or
less, and it is lobbying to make that possible, said Rohit Malpani, the
campaign's policy chief.

It will ask the World Health Organization to put sofosbuvir on its list of
drugs the agency tests for countries too poor to have their own drug
regulatory agencies.

It is opposing Gilead's patent
application<http://www.msfaccess.org/about-us/media-room/press-releases/gilead-attempt-secure-patent-hepatitis-c-drug-opposed-india>for
sofosbuvir in India. Gilead, meanwhile, hopes to license Indian drug
companies to make a
$2,000-per-treatment<http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/gilead-local-generic-players-in-talks-to-bring-hepatitis-c-drug-into-india/article5649841.ece>version.

The campaign also plans to ask the three top funders of the war on AIDS --
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the President's
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and Unitaid -- to agree to pay for
hepatitis<http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/hepatitis/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier>drugs
too if the prices become affordable, which will let Doctors Without
Borders start pilot treatment projects in several countries.



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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