The hepatitis drug sofosbuvir successfully treats 90 percent of hepatitis C cases.
Medical groups mounted a new legal bid Monday to break a US pharma giant’s hold on a hepatitis C drug whose price — costing thousands of dollars for a typical course — has unleashed a fierce patent battle.
The drug, known by its lab name as sofosbuvir, cures 90 percent of Hep C cases, bringing hopes for millions infected with the dangerous liver virus.
But critics say the manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, has priced it out of the reach of many patients and public health systems.
A single pill of the drug, marketed as Sovaldi and other names, can cost up to $1,000 (920 euros). In France, a 12-week course of treatment costs 41,000 euros.
Seeking to clear the way for a low-cost generic version of the drug, the non-governmental organisations on Monday filed a fresh legal challenge with the European Patent Office in Munich.
The complaint has been backed by 30 NGOs from 17 European nations including Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Doctors of the World (MDM).
“Gilead’s patent monopolies on sofosbuvir are blocking access to affordable hepatitis C treatment,” said Alienor Devaliere, EU Policy Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign.
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