India's patent controller has rejected Gilead Sciences' application for Sovaldi hepatitis C treatment, which will allow locally-based drug makers to sell lower-cost generic versions of the medicine.
Gilead's patent application was challenged by India generic drug maker Natco Pharma and the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (IMAK), a U.S.-based non-profit group advocating for changes in patent systems. They argued that Sovaldi was not a significant improvement compared with an earlier compound developed by another company.
Tahir Amin, director of intellectual property at IMAK, commented to the WSJ:
“The bottom line here is that India’s patent law doesn’t give monopolies for old science, for compounds that are already in the public domain. Gilead’s strategy of charging as much as $84,000 per treatment for a drug that is predicted to be simple and cheap to produce, and is now un-patentable in India, has been exposed for what it is – seeking to squeeze as much profit out of the sick as possible.”
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