[Ip-health] Chilean lawmakers push for compulsory licenses for hepatitis C drugs

Kim Treanor kim.treanor at keionline.org
Wed Jan 3 13:18:14 PST 2018


Chilean lawmakers push for compulsory licenses for hepatitis C drugs
Ed Silverman in Stat News on 3 January 2018

For the second time in the past year, the lower house of the Chilean
congress passed a resolution instructing the government to make it possible
to issue compulsory licenses for medicines, but this time, the effort is
focused specifically on hepatitis C treatments.

The move comes in response to concerns over rising prices and the ability
of the government to cover costs, according to the resolution, and follows
a move last month by more than two dozen advocacy groups from around the
world to press the health ministry to take action.


“There’s an increasing level of frustration and need by Chileans,” said
Andrew Goldman, counsel for policy and legal affairs at Knowledge Ecology
International, an advocacy group that tracks access-to-medicines issues.
“The hope is that a continued groundswell of support will move this ahead.
You’re still seeing not enough patients getting access to the drug.”


Chile is one of a growing number of countries, in fact, to consider
compulsory licenses as an option for attempting to lower drug costs. In
recent months, the Netherlands health minister declared interest in
pursuing licenses and the Malaysian government announced plans to issue
licenses for the Sovaldi hepatitis C drug sold by Gilead Sciences (GILD).

By and large, though, there have been few instances in which a country has
issued a license, due to concerns about trade repercussions.


Last year, staffers from both the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the
U.S. trade representative met with Colombian embassy officials in
Washington, D.C., and suggested that Washington might withdraw support for
a free trade agreement and $450 million in backing for a peace initiative
between the Colombian government and Marxist rebels. Colombia, instead,
later moved to unilaterally cut the price. Novartis (NVS) is appealing.

Kim Treanor
Knowledge Ecology International
kim.treanor at keionline.org
tel.: +1.202.332.2670 <(202)%20332-2670>

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