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15 February 2017Asia-Pacific

Hepatitis C drugs face four patent challenges in India

India-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has filed four patent challenges against patents covering hepatitis C drugs in a bid to ensure access to affordable treatment.

According to a statement released by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) yesterday, February 14, the patent challenges could remove barriers to the production and distribution of generic versions of direct-acting antiviral medicines, including sofosbuvir, daclatasvir and velpatasvir.

I-MAK—supported by MSF and the Delhi Network of Positive People, a trust working towards helping women and children with HIV—filed two challenges surrounding daclatasvir, one concerning velpatasvir and a further challenge on sofosbuvir.

Separately, in Argentina, non-profit Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo (FGEP) filed a patent opposition against sofosbuvir with support from I-MAK.

FGEP supports people living with HIV and seeks to eliminate barriers to accessing essential medicines for treating HIV and hepatitis C.

The filings are the latest attempts to “overturn the abusive strategies” of pharmaceutical corporations that “exploit the flaws in the patent system to obtain unjustified patents that block generic competition”, said MSF.

Jessica Burry, pharmacist for MSF’s access campaign, explained that 80 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis C.

“With patents blocking generic competition, treatment remains prohibitively expensive in many countries,” said Burry.

MSF added that patents on drugs also restrict progressive innovation that could otherwise benefit patients.

“More than a decade ago, patent barriers were overcome to allow generic competition of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, used to treat HIV, causing prices to drop by 99% and enabling more than 18 million people to access treatment today,” said the press release.

It added that the lack of patent barriers also enabled generic producers to develop improved ARV combination treatments and new formulations to serve unmet patient needs.

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More on this story

Americas
26 October 2017   Non-profit group the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has accused Gilead of obtaining “unmerited patents” for its hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir.
Asia
26 July 2018   In India, a non-profit organisation and an advocacy group have united to take on a patent covering pibrentasvir, part of the drug combination that forms AbbVie’s hepatitis C product Mavyret.

More on this story

Americas
26 October 2017   Non-profit group the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has accused Gilead of obtaining “unmerited patents” for its hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir.
Asia
26 July 2018   In India, a non-profit organisation and an advocacy group have united to take on a patent covering pibrentasvir, part of the drug combination that forms AbbVie’s hepatitis C product Mavyret.

More on this story

Americas
26 October 2017   Non-profit group the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has accused Gilead of obtaining “unmerited patents” for its hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir.
Asia
26 July 2018   In India, a non-profit organisation and an advocacy group have united to take on a patent covering pibrentasvir, part of the drug combination that forms AbbVie’s hepatitis C product Mavyret.