I-MAK challenges validity of remaining Hepatitis C drug patent

Legal challenge to unblock Hep C Treatment for up to 13 million people

In a move that could strike down barriers to treatment for the exploding hepatitis C epidemic that kills 700,000 people every year, attorneys and scientists from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) filed a legal challenge against Gilead’s remaining patent for the hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir in China.

Branded as Sovaldi®, this patent covers the sofosbuvir base compound and is founded on previously published techniques, and does not meet the legal criteria for a patent.

“When presented with the facts, patent offices around the globe are increasingly recognizing that patents must be reserved for drugs that are proven to be novel, non-obvious and useful,” said Tahir Amin, I-MAK co-founder and director of intellectual property. “We hope that the Chinese patent office does the right thing and ends Gilead’s manipulation of the law, so that millions of people can have affordable access to the medicine they need.”

The hepatitis C virus, which the World Health Organization has called a “viral time bomb,” affects about 80 million people globally.

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