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$10 generic Solvaldi emerges in Bangladesh

Published on 10/03/15 at 10:24am
Sovaldi image

A Bangladeshi pharma company is producing an unlicensed generic version of Gilead’s hepatitis C drug Sovaldi for $10 per pill – a fraction of its price in Europe and the US.

Incepta Pharmaceuticals isn’t one of the eleven pharma firms officially licensed by Gilead to market generic versions of the blockbuster drug, but as Bangladesh is immune from pharmaceutical patents under a World Trade Organization agreement – it has been able to produce its pill unchallenged.

Such unlicensed generics could be a continuing problem for Gilead in countries where Solvaldi (sofosbuvir) isn’t patented. Incepta says it is hoping to sell its pill to some of these countries, including parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. The World Health Organization is also in talks with Incepta for assessing the quality of the drug, which could lead to it endorsing the pill.

Gilead told Bloomberg that it is “aware of unauthorized generic versions of sofosbuvir being offered in the marketplace” and is focussed on “enabling our eleven Indian generic partners to launch their authorised generic versions as soon as possible”.

These partners, which include Mylan and Ranbaxy, are expected to sell their version of the HCV drug for a similar price to Incepta’s – which amounts to about $900 for a full course of treatment.

The generics will be produced for 91 developing countries which together account for 54% of the global hepatitis C population.

According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, several other Solvaldi generics not licensed by Gilead are in the works in Egypt. Sovaldi costs around $84,000 for a full course of treatment in the US and £33,000 in the UK – prices that are a continuing source of backlash against Gilead.

Last month the charity Doctors of the World announced that it would be challenging the firm’s patent in Europe in the hopes of making generic versions available in the region, which it claims would be produced for as little as £66.

George Underwood

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