Getting cured of hepatitis C will cost you your pension

Source: Act Up Paris

28 July 2014

Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir), the new medicine against chronic hepatitis C from American laboratory Gilead, highly increases chances of recovery while also decreasing the side effects that make people stop the cure. A hope of survival for the 3 to 4 million people newly infected every year.

But Gilead reminds us that “health comes with a price”, and they make a good business of it : $3.07 bn of net income in 2013 [1]. In the United-States, one pill of Sovaldi® costs €730 : one month of french minimum old-age pension. At a rate of one pill per day during 12 to 24 weeks, the cure costs between €61,000 and €122,640 (not including the cost of other associated molecules that enhance the efficiency of sofosbuvir).

In order to justify this outrageous price, Gilead uses the eternal excuse of the cost of research. But if we divide the price paid by Gilead to buy the sofosbuvir in 2011 ($11 bn) by the number of people infected by hepatitis C (185 million), the result is… $60 !. Then we add the cost of production of a twelve-week treatment of sofosbuvir, estimated between $62 and $134 [2], the total cost of the cure would be $200, far from the price set by Gilead at $84,000 in the United-States, also far from the so called preferential price of $2000 in India [3] .

It’s not that Gilead can’t do the math, but they’d rather sell their product at an expensive price and maximize their profit, in the North and in the South, instead of making it easier to access for everyone. The health of poor people, Gilead does not care, it is not profitable enough.

We, people infected with hepatitis C and co-infected with HIV-HCV, refuse to die because of the greed of pharmaceutical companies.

While the Government is progressively withdrawing from the field of public health (health care excess, shutting down of public hospital), while the Court of Auditors recommend to further limit the social security expenses and while scandals linked to pharmaceutical industry are multiplying [4], we demand that :

The French Government :

  • Set a reasonable price for Gilead’s Sovaldi®, knowing that the cost of production of a twelve-week treatment is between €50 and €100
  • Grant NGO’s of ill-people a representation at the Economic Committee for Medicinal Products (CEPS) that set the price of medicines
  • Support low- and middle-income countries to product and import generic versions of sofosbuvir

The World Health Organization :

  • Register sofosbuvir on the essential drug list
  • Nullify patents everywhere they are harmful


This entry was posted in Compulsory Licensing, Generics, Hepatitis C, IP Rights, Patents, Pricing. Bookmark the permalink.

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