Cost of Hepatitis C Drug Price Skyrockets 1,422% after Patent Approval

Average value of Gilead drug increased from US$ 16 to US$ 240

Patrícia Campos Mello
São Paulo

Brazilian officials have accused US pharmaceutical company Gilead of abusing patent rights with its hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir. Since January, when Gilead received a patent for the sofosbuvir drug, the price of the drug has increased by 1,421.55%.

This Monday, the Federal Public Defender’s Office filed a complaint with Cade, the body that regulates competition in Brazil. It accused the Gilead company of charging exorbitant prices for the sofosbuvir drug.

In 2018, the Ministry of Health announced a plan to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 (Foto: Fernando Nascimento/Folhapress) - Folhapress

Last year, sofosbuvir was at the center of a court battle over the patent. In September 2018, Folha showed that pharmaceutical company Gilead barred the purchase of a generic hepatitis C drug that would save the Brazilian government R $ 1 billion per year.

Following the Gilead patent approval in January 2019, the average price of the drug went from R$ 64.84 (US$ 16) to R$ 986.57 (US$ 240), according to the representation— that is, an increase of 1,421.55%.

In 2018, the Ministry of Health announced a plan to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030, and SUS began treating all patients with new antivirals. But rising drug prices limit the number of people treated.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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