Last week the European Patent Office (EPO) valued the resource we presented in March 2017 with organizations from 17 countries (Doctors of the World and Doctors Without Borders, among others) against the patent of sofosbuvir, a crucial drug for the treatment and the cure of hepatitis C.
Regrettably, the EPO decided to maintain this key patent on this component, facilitating the monopoly of the company Gilead Sciences and making it impossible to develop and sell more affordable generic versions in Europe.
The 12-week treatment of Sovaldi (commercial name for sofosbuvir) has a price of up to 43,000 euros in Europe, depending on which country and according to Gilead’s negotiations with them. This price, totally exorbitant, has supposed and supposes a barrier for the health systems of almost all countries, which end up rationing the purchase of medicines and, consequently, leaving thousands of people affected by Hepatitis C without the treatment for her illness.
In countries where there is no patent for this drug, generic producers have lowered the price to just 52 euros for the same treatment cycle, while several and various studies have shown that the cost of manufacture per daily tablet is 0.50. euros
From Salud por Derecho we believe that the decision of the EPO is disappointing. This decision legitimizes a patent, unjustified from the legal and scientific point of view, which allows Gilead to abuse its position and impose very high and inaccessible prices on a medicine that saves lives and that thousands and thousands of people need, not only in Europe, but throughout the world.
Together with the other organizations, we will appeal the decision of the European Patent Office. It is necessary to put an end to abusive patents on medicines: patents such as sofosbuvir and new patents for cancer, which are coming onto the market with prices that reach 400,000 euros per treatment. There is no health system in the world that can deal with these figures.