‘Unmerited’ hep C patent contributes to Gilead monopoly, says NGO

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/OliverLeMoal)
(Image: Getty/OliverLeMoal)

Related tags: Gilead, Hepatitis c, Patent

The European Patent Office has upheld protection relating to Gilead’s costly Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, which Médecins du Monde claims prevents patients from receiving affordable treatment.

Last week, humanitarian not-for-profit Médecins du Monde, together with Médecins Sans Frontières and organisations from 17 countries, challenged a patent on a pharmaceutical component of Gilead’s hepatitis drug, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir).

Sovaldi received US approval in December 2013, and European authorisation in January 2014, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection. At the time of approval, the drug attracted criticism over its price tag, which equated to around $1,000 (€857) a pill​.

On September 14, 2018, patent 2,604,620​ was upheld by the European Patent Office (EPO), despite Médecins du Monde’s claim that the related component is “inactive”​, and its patent, therefore “unmerited”.

According to Médecins du Monde, the patent “contributes to Gilead’s monopoly and prevents hundreds of thousands of patients in Europe to receive affordable treatment.

“The verdict demonstrates how pharmaceutical companies abuse the patent system by using patents only for their own interests instead of their original purpose: patents were devised to improve the well-being of society,”​ the non-government organisation added.

Gilead defended the patent protection of its treatment in an emailed statement, highlighting that last week’s hearing related to one of a number of patents protecting the manufacture of Sofosbuvir.

“As the EPO has previously granted and maintained a separate patent that covers the sofosbuvir molecule itself, this patent does not impact Gilead’s exclusive right to make and sell our hepatitis C medicines in the EU,” ​the firm explained.

According to Gilead, its Hepatitis C treatment range, which includes Sovaldi, Harvoni​, Epclusa and Vosevi, has “transformed the treatment of HCV.”

The firm also highlighted its access programmes in developing countries, which include an agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool​ – an organisation that can sub-license production to generic drug companies in India, China and South Africa.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Integrated Solutions for Accelerated Time to Market

Integrated Solutions for Accelerated Time to Market

Piramal Pharma Solutions | 08-Jun-2021 | Technical / White Paper

Facing capacity constraints? Lock in your program now! With 14 sites around the world providing diverse services ranging from discovery to drug substance...

Transforming Clinical Development

Transforming Clinical Development

PerkinElmer | 01-Jun-2021 | Technical / White Paper

The estimated cost of bringing a drug to market in the U.S. according to JAMA is $1 billion.1 The extreme cost of clinical trials urge biopharmaceutical,...

Vaccine Innovation in the Era of COVID19

Vaccine Innovation in the Era of COVID19

Covance Patient Safety | 01-Oct-2020 | Sponsored Link

During this time of worldwide crisis, there is an increasing demand for the acceleration of a vaccination for COVID19. Regardless of the great recent advancements...

Lactium, your ally to manage day to day stress

Lactium, your ally to manage day to day stress

Ingredia | 27-Aug-2020 | Product Presentation

Stress has been called the ‘health epidemic of the 21st century’ by the World Health Organization. Increasingly, consumers are looking for safe, reliable...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars