International health NGO Medecins du Monde (MdM) submitted a legal challange to European patent belonging to U.S. drug maker Gilead Sciences this Tuesday. The charity accused the company of claiming excessive costs for Hepatitis C drug.
Contending that Gilead is “misusing” its patent on Sovaldi, referred to generically as sofosbuvir, MdM noted its challenge denoted the first time in Europe when a medical NGO has employed this procedure to attempt enhancing patients ‘access to treatments.
MdM clarified in a public report quoted by Reuters:
“While using sofosbuvir to treat hepatitis C represents a major therapeutic advance, the molecule itself, which is the result of work by many public and private researchers, is not sufficiently innovative to warrant a patent,” MdM said in a statement. As Gilead is abusing its patent to impose prices which are unsustainable for healthcare systems, (MdM) has decided to contest it.”
Gilead did not comment upon the legal challenge in any way with a company representative saying there is nothing to say about it for the time being.
As per World Health Organization stats, about 150 million individuals all around the globe live with hepatitis C virus, the majority of which in poor and developing nations. In the European Union, somewhere around 7.3 and 8.8 million people are estimated to be infected with hepatitis C.
Jean-François Corty, MdM’s French branch executive declared that the organization was protecting all inclusive access to healthcare.
“The struggle against health inequality involves safeguarding a healthcare system based on solidarity.”
Corty further argued that even in a more developed country like France with a with a yearly medications budget of 27 billion euros, it’s challenging to meet this expense and this has already led to a subjective rationing practice that expels patients from treatment access.
Sovaldi is a nucleotide simple inhibitor which obstructs a protein required by the Hepatitis C virus to spread. Gilead has already defended Sovaldi’s high cost noting it’s a fair price since the drug has very high odds of curing, far less adverse reactions and can help patients avoid costly medical facility treatment, as well as possible liver transplants.
Be that as it may, the total cost of the medication has prompted debates. The drug sold $5.8 billion in its first semester making it the best new medication dispatch ever.
MdM claims the expense of the pharmaceutical in Britain, approximately 33,000 pounds ($50,160) for a three months therapy, is an extreme price which impedes numerous individuals’ access to this type of treatment. According to the charity, if their legal challenge is fruitful this could enable competition from generic variants of the medication which it could be delivered for only 66 pounds.
Image Source: Hepatitis C News