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24 October 2019Big PharmaSaman Javed

Brazil accuses Gilead over 1,421.5% price hike of hep C drug

The Brazilian Federal Public Defender’s Office has filed a complaint against Gilead for hugely increasing the price of its hepatitis C drug since it gained patent protection.

The complaint, filed on Monday, October 21, at the Administrative Council for Economic Defence ( CADE), alleged that since Gilead received a patent for its drug Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) in January, the price of the drug has increased by 1,421.55%.

CADE is the body responsible for regulating competition in Brazil.

Following the approval of the patent in January 2019, the average price of the drug rose from R$64.84 ($16) to R$986.57 ($240).

The news comes just over a year after a Brazilian judge suspended Gilead’s patent for the drug in September 2018 following a complaint by a presidential candidate.

Earlier that month, Marina Silva and her running mate Eduardo Jorge filed a lawsuit asking that the patent be overturned for a lack of novelty.

At the time, Luiz Leonardos, partner at Luiz Leonardos & Advogados in Brazil, told LSIPR that Sovaldi incurs high costs to the health system.

“With the granting of the patent, the costs could increase, so the federal judge suspended the granting and ordered the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office ( INPI) to re-examine the case, bearing in mind its social and public interest aspects.”

Gabriel Di Blasi, managing partner at Brazil-based Di Blasi, added that according to the judge, in granting the patent, the INPI “failed on its constitutional mission to previously watch for national sovereignty and public interest”.

As a result, the court suspended the INPI’s decision to grant the patent, but it was later granted at the beginning of this year.

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