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Campaigners challenge patent applications for hepatitis C drug in five countries

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2938 (Published 01 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2938
  1. Sanjeet Bagcchi
  1. 1Kolkata

Campaigning groups are challenging patent applications for the blockbuster hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) in Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia, and Ukraine to improve access to the drug.

I-MAK, a US based group that campaigns for increased access to affordable medicines, has claimed that Gilead Sciences, the US biotechnology company that makes Sovaldi, is seeking “illegitimate patents” for sofosbuvir and “blocking millions of people around the world from getting the treatment” for hepatitis C.1

The group alleged that the base compound in sofosbuvir is not new and is already covered by earlier patents. I-MAK, together with an Indian organisation, Delhi Network of Positive People, opposed the patent application for sofosbuvir in India on the grounds that no new evidence showed it to have enhanced efficacy over known forms of the compound. India’s patent office rejected the application for sofosbuvir in January on the grounds that sofosbuvir …

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