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Patients mount challenge against Gilead’s patent on new Hep C drug

A day after US company Gilead was granted a patent on hepatitis C medicine, sofosbuvir, patient groups and companies are planning to challenge it. I-MAK and health advocates around the world agree that sofosbuvir does not deserve a patent, and will be launching an appeal to the decision. The order may block a sustainable supply of key raw materials (APIs) for producing the drug in countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and hence affect supply of affordable drugs, particularly in those countries, health activists say.The pre-grant oppositions filed by Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, along with those filed by DNP+, I-MAK and three domestic generic companies were rejected by Deputy Patent Controller of Delhi Patent Office.Sofosbuvir is priced excessively high in most high-income countries, around $84,000 for a 12- week course in the US, and $76,000 in France putting considerable strain on national health budgets. In India, the same treatment costs around Rs 20,000 under the generic versions of Sofosbuvir.

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