U.S. drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) has licensed few pharmaceutical firms in India to manufacture the cheaper generic version of “Sovaldi”, a single sure shot cure Hepatitis C. The company aims to provide a greater access to the medicine; nearly 180 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C . The drug earlier was not available in India, and had to be imported from overseas, with one tablet costing $1000 a pill and a three month course was worth somewhere around $84000. Now, the US firm will give a full technology transfer to all its licensees, in exchange for seven percent royalties in each sale. This initiative of Gilead’s is planned for ninety other developing countries. The drugs will now be sold below $1,800 for a 24-week course of liver cancer treatment in India.
Some of the major Indian companies which will deal with the drug are Cipla Ltd, Mylan Lanorataries Ltd, Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. A person associated with global patient access group said “These deals are very restrictive in nature and typically the companies will not disclose the details of the terms and conditions.” There have been many criticisms from some of the activist groups for the high prices set for Sovaldi, which has put it beyond the reach of most patients, particularly those in developing countries. But the licensees have been given permissions to set their own prices which would suit the budgets of the patients.
A World Health Organization survey stated that more than 12 million Indians are infected with Hepatitis C and many of them aren’t even aware of it. If a person has received blood transfusion before 2002, they should get a simple blood test done, as they are prone to Hepatitis C.