[Ip-health] Urgent Action Needed: sofosbuvir patent opposition in India

Francisco francisco_rossi at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 26 11:14:27 PST 2015

Dear Friends.
Just to comment that I found dangerous the mix of two issues totaly different;  the patent application deserves (or not) a patent, in the context of the Indian law, no matter if the Price is excessive or if the consequences of the patent could be alliviatted by a voluntary or a compulsory license, or if Gilead consider that they found a potential  allied. 
Even we like or not, we must learnt to work and move by rules and  by  laws.  It is not time to "relativize" rules and laws........
Gilead is the world Champion  !!!!
> Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:01:12 +0000
> From: pauline.londeix at gmail.com
> To: healthgap at lists.critpath.org; ip-health at lists.keionline.org
> Subject: [Ip-health] Urgent Action Needed: sofosbuvir patent opposition in	India
> Dear friends and allies,
>  We are writing to you about an urgent matter in connection with the
> future of access to curative treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) to
> all those who need it.
>  As you may have heard, the Indian Patent Office rejected few days ago
> in the first review one of the key patent applications for sofosbuvir
> (Sovaldi). This is the medicine recently marketed by Gilead which is
> priced exorbitantantly  out of reach of most countries, including the
> wealthy ones (in the US: $ 1000 per tablet for a period of 12 weeks
> for a total of $ 80,000 per course of treatment).
> This opposition to one of the key patents for sofosbuvir (the patent
> is only a minor modification of existing compounds that does not
> deserve patent) was a success thanks to the mobilization of our
> colleagues in civil society. If the decision stands and oppositions
> that have been filed against another key sofosbuvir patent also
> succeed, it could allow affordable generic versions of Sofosbuvir to
> be available in many countries, included those excluded from licenses,
> as was done following the Tenofovir patent opposition in India a few
> years ago.
> Unfortunately, instead of leaving the Indian Patent Office do its
> work, Gilead has stepped up pressure on India last week, and they are
> trying to reverse the decision of the Patent Office through the courts
> . Gilead is currently in the process of putting pressure on the
> Department of Industrial Policy in India, which oversees the patent
> office, by using the argument that there will be no problem accessing
> sofosbuvir in India or in other developing countries as Gilead issued
> last September a voluntary license (VL) to Indian generic producers
> enabling them to produce generic versions for some countries
> determined by Gilead.
> This license has been criticized by many groups of civil society and
> experts working on the field of Intellectual property and access to
> medicines. The VL poses a number of problems that call into question
> whether Gilead really will allow access, or inhibit open generic
> competition, which is proven to be the most effective way to bring
> down the price of medications.. Problems with the VL include:
> -       -   The exclusion of 50 developing countries from the
> territories covered by the VL  (mainly middle income countries). These
> include countries severely affected by the HCV epidemic and whom will
> under no circumstances be able to afford the prices charged by Gilead.
> This is even if there is no patent protection in those countries,
> - Banning the sale of raw materials used in the manufacture of
> generics outside few Indian generic producers selected by Gilead in
> the VL,  including exclusion of manufacturers in countries where there
> is no patent e.g Egypt,
> - Anti-diversion measures in total violation of the principles of
> human rights and medical ethics disclosing confidential data of the
> patients. Even in countries included in the license these measures
> permit the exclusions of all persons not eligible for government
> programs to access treatment, as well as people who are treated in the
> private sector and foreign residents...
> Given the gravity of the current situation in India, and at the
> request of our colleagues who are fighting there to maintain the
> rejection of this patent which, if successful, could benefit all
> patients around the world, we must act quickly. We need to tell Gilead
> now as well as the India's Department of industrial Policy  that
> people living with HCV and supporting organizations reject this
> license, which remains insufficient to allow people who need treatment
> in developing countries to gain access.
>  Given the urgency of the letter we will send you, we wanted to notify
> you with this email that you will receive a letter on Tuesday, January
> 27 (colleagues are drafting it) to which we would like you to add the
> signature of your organization.
> The turnaround time to sign on will be quite short (2-3days) so that
> the letter could be sent before the end of the week.
> We strongly encourage you to serve as relay of solidarity by sending
> this email and the letter that will follow on Tuesday to all your
> partner organizations in your country, your region or in the world to
> collect the maximum signatures possible.
> If you have any questions about what is happening in India, the
> implications or the voluntary license from Gilead, please feel free to
> contact us:
> Othman Mellouk, International Treatment Prepardeness Coalition - ITPC
> (o.mellouk at gmail.com)
> Karyn Kaplan, Treatment Action Group - TAG
> (karyn.kaplan at treatmentactiongroup.org)
> Best Regards,
> Karyn & Othman
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> http://lists.keionline.org/mailman/listinfo/ip-health_lists.keionline.org

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