Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New Hepatitis-C drug Sovaldi 99% cheaper in India

New Hepatitis-C drug 99% cheaper in India
Rupali Mukherjee,TNN
Aug 6, 2014, 05.04 AM IST

MUMBAI: There is some hope for hepatitis C patients in India. Amid mounting criticism over the eye-popping price of Sovaldi, the first breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C virus, US pharma firm Gilead Sciences has offered to introduce the drug in India at nearly 99% discount of the US price.

The blockbuster hepatitis C drug will cost about $900 (around Rs 54,000) in India for a 12-week course of treatment. That would be a fraction of the $84,000 (over Rs 50 lakh) price tag for the same treatment in US.

Gilead Sciences will adopt a tiered pricing structure here, like the one for HIV treatment in developing countries like India.

"The pricing of Sovaldi in India at $300 per bottle, is our low income pricing, similar to the price negotiated with Egypt for its government-run programme. We hope with local production by our partners in India, higher volumes and continued research & development on the drug will lead to a further reduction in prices at a later stage", Gregg Alton, executive V-P (corporate & medical affairs), Gilead Sciences told TOI in a telecon from the US.

"We have set three basic pricing tiers (based on a country's per capita income and hepatitis C prevalence) that serve as the starting point for negotiations with national governments. The tiers are low-income, low middle-income and upper-middle income," Alton said.

The pricing and launch of the breakthrough treatment of hepatitis C is crucial for India, which has one of the highest incidence of the virus, with over 12 million chronically infected, according to WHO.

However, even at $900, many patients will still not be able to afford the therapy in India. The cost will escalate for those who are prescribed a six-month treatment.

Alton said existing treatment in India is more expensive than the one his company will offer. Also, Sovaldi prices are expected to fall with generic competition and local manufacture.

Existing hepatitis C treatment in India is expensive (Rs 3,75,000 or $6000), complex (24-48 weeks of injectables) and has serious side-effects.

Gilead also plans to license its new therapy to Indian generic manufacturers, who will then supply lower cost versions of the drug in the country, and across global markets. It is in talks with its HIV drug pasrtners -- Ranbaxy, Mylan, Strides Arcolab -- to finalise an agreement for Sovaldi. The licensee agreements could be finalised by September, Alton said.

At present, the company has initiated clinical trials of the drug in India, with results expected in 2015-end. While Gilead Sciences has applied for multiple patents in India on sofosbuvir, even before its grant the company is already embroiled in a fight. A patient group, Delhi Network of Positive People, and UK-based intellectual property law firm, Initiative for Medicines Access and Knowledge, have together filed an opposition to prevent Gilead from gaining a patent in India

Source- The Times Of India 

In The News

Aug 8 Forbes

Even At $900 (Vs. $84,000 In US) Hep C Cure Sovaldi's Cost Could Be Unacceptable In India
Indian officials are quick to point out that 80% of their populace are without insurance and that even at $900, the price of Sovaldi is beyond the reach of many. But this won’t necessarily stop hepatitis C patients in India from getting the drug. It is not uncommon for the Indian government to take actions that impact the ability of a foreign company to sell drugs in India that are deemed too expensive
Continue reading...

Aug 7 WSJ

How Much? Gilead Will Charge $900 for Sovaldi in India
By Ed Silverman
The pricing reflects an effort by Gilead to forestall the sort of criticism the pharmaceutical industry has often encountered when selling life-saving medicines in poorer countries, which have often complained bitterly that many of its citizens have been unable to afford some treatments.
India has become the latest country where the Sovaldi hepatitis C treatment will be offered for $900 per patient. The move comes a few weeks after the manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, is making the medication available for the same price in Egypt.
Read More »

Aug 6 - New York Times

Why the Price of Sovaldi Is a Shock to the System
Gilead Sciences, its manufacturer, says its price is comparable to existing treatments for hepatitis C, a viral disease that causes liver damage, including cirrhosis and cancer in some cases. The company also describes it as a breakthrough drug, and essentially in a class of its own. Because it is more effective than existing therapies and has many fewer side effects, it is much more popular. A Gilead executive described it as a “new price to the system.”
Continue reading..... 

1 comment:

  1. US citizens will die because of the cost of this drug !!