[Ip-health] Doctors of the world (MdM): New treatments for Hepatitis C, a great hope for people infected with HCV, but accessible for how many?

Pauline Londeix pauline.londeix at gmail.com
Wed Mar 19 03:29:06 PDT 2014

Press statement Doctors of the world (Médecins du Monde)
En français ici :

New treatments for Hepatitis C, a great hope for people infected with
HCV, but accessible for how many?
Publication of a study on strategies for achieving universal access to
HCV treatments

"We are witnessing a revolution in the treatment of hepatitis C virus
with powerful molecules capable of curing the infection. There is no
question that these treatments that can save millions of lives must
be made universally available at an affordable price."
Pr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Laureate in Medicine

 (Paris, 18 March, 2014) While new treatments are entering the market
and substantially modifying  the hepatitis C virus (HCV) care and
treatment, Doctors of the World - Médecins du Monde (MdM)
has published a study on the strategies to implement universal access
to treatments.
More potent, with fewer side effects, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs)
are currently coming onto the market and are significantly reducing
the duration of the treatment and are demonstrating higher
cure rates. But, according to Thierry Brigaud, president of MdM: <<
While hepatitis C kills 350,000 people per year, the pharmaceutical
companies' business strategies will make these treatments, yet
promising, out of reach for the vast majority of people living with
HCV worldwide. At least 185 million people worldwide have been
infected with HCV. 85% of them live in low (13%) and middle (72%)
income countries.

At the end of 2013, Gilead's sofosbuvir has been approved and launched
onto rich countries' markets with an astronomically high prices
varying between USD 80,000 - 90,000. Supported by extensive
media coverage, Gilead, recently announced potential selling prices of
sofosbuvir starting at USD 2,000. Like Gilead, other companies
proclaim promoting access to their medicines for the largest number
through voluntary licensing or tiered pricing. It is not the case at

In a study published today(1), MdM analyzes these strategies by
combining HCV epidemiological data with pharmaceutical companies
strategies, notably those implemented in the fight against HIV. This
study shows their impact on access to the DAAs and the dead ends in
which the low and middle income countries, the most affected ones,
could be in. For example, in Egypt where close to 12 million people
have HCV, providing sofosbuvir (alone), at a minimum price of
USD2,000, to only those Egyptians at an advanced stage of the disease
(F3 and F4) -and who need treatment urgently- would cost the
government almost 62 times the entire annual budget of the Egyptian
HCV care & treatment program (2008-2012).

According to MdM, these treatments do not have to cost this much. The
study demonstrates that other - far more effective strategies can and
should be implemented, like those successfully conducted in the fight
against HIV. Generic competition through compulsory licenses and
patent oppositions, led to radical decreases in HIV drug prices. The
same applies with the new hepatitis C.

MdM asks for the implementing of universal access to treatments for
people affected with HCV.

(1) Londeix P. With the contribution of Forette C., New Treatments for
Hepatitis C Virus: Strategies for Achieving
Universal Access, Médecins du Monde, March 2014.
(2) treatments that can be produced generically for a tiny fraction of
that price. For example, a 12-week
course of sofosbuvir, produced generically, may cost in the range of USD68-1362

Press Contacts:
Aurélie Defretin / Emmanuelle Hau
+331 44 92 13 81 / 14 31 - +336 09 17 35 59
infomdm at medecinsdumonde.net

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