Argentina Rejects Key Patent on Hepatitis C Drug

Press Release 6 Dec 2017

On Monday, Argentina took a huge step forward in addressing the country’s hepatitis C crisis when the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) rejected a patent application on the sofosbuvir prodrug. The decision came in response to a legal challenge by Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo (FGEP), with I-MAK’s legal support.

Tahir Amin, I-MAK co-executive director, released the following statement in response:

“This decision is a major victory for the Argentinians living with hepatitis C, who are now one step closer to accessing affordable generic treatments. For too long, Gilead has exploited Argentina’s markets by abusing the patent system to keep drug prices artificially high and block competition. Patent offices around the world should follow suit — because this is not the first decision to show that Gilead’s hepatitis C patents are unmerited.”

Lorena Di Giano, executive director of FGEP said:

Generics guarantee price competition in the tenders of the Ministry of Health and they should be protected. Today there is a public tender opened by the Ministry of Health in which some of the local producers have offered significantly lower prices than Gilead. The rejection of this patent is a step forward to protect local production and procurement of generics.”

In Argentina, it is estimated that there are 400,000 people living with hepatitis C, many of whom cannot access treatment due to the high prices. Local production of generic sofosbuvir will have a direct impact on patient access and Ministry of Health budgets. I-MAK is proud to work with Lorena di Giano and her team at FGEP, along with the Make Medicines Affordable Coalition to fight unmerited patents and bring down drug prices worldwide

I-MAK has also filed a challenge to overturn Gilead’s sofosbuvir prodrug in the United States. For more information, contact press@i-mak.org.

ABOUT I-MAK

Since 2006, I-MAK has been working to increase access to medicines around the world. I-MAK’s legal work and research spans 49 countries, eight diseases and 20 therapies. I-MAK’s wins on high-impact cases on HIV drugs has saved health programs worldwide over $1 billion. In order to stay independent and exclusively represent the interests of patients and consumers, I-MAK does not accept funding from branded or generic pharmaceutical companies. Click here for more on I-MAK’s impact around the world.

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