Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hepatitis C drugs re-energize global fight over patents

Hepatitis C drugs re-energize global fight over patents
Lawsuits in India and Argentina seek to reduce drug costs by allowing generic versions of antiviral treatments.
Amy Maxmen
The liver disease hepatitis C is the new battleground for lawsuits intended to slash the cost of life-saving medicines. In February alone, five suits were filed in India and Argentina claiming that the latest class of antiviral drugs does not warrant the 20-year patent monopoly that manufacturers have sought in those countries.

In the 2000s, successful challenges to patents on HIV drugs gave poor nations access to high-quality ‘generic’ copies of the medications at rock-bottom prices. Now, buoyed by that success, activists are applying the same strategy to a fresh wave of hepatitis C drugs. They note that the standard 12-week course of treatment costs more than the average annual salary for millions of people in middle-income countries.
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