- Trials into remdesivir have not demonstrated the impact that many had hoped for, in terms of treating COVID-19 patients, although “some” efficacy has been found, and remdesivir is still prescribed for compassionate use in many countries.
- Despite the underwhelming results, this has not stopped Gilead Sciences from overpricing the drug, charging $2,340 (USD) for a five day course, whereas generic producers have proven the same course of treatment can be produced for $229, or less.
- Gilead’s patent applications are weak. The applications, analysed by civil society experts, have been shown not meet patentability requirements. It looks like the corporation is testing how much it can get away with.
- It is yet more evidence of the Gilead’s intent to protect its ability to profiteer, even during a pandemic.
Our partner in Guatemala, ITPC Latin America and the Caribbean (LATCA), has filed an opposition against a patent application filed by Gilead on the drug remdesivir. The corporation has filed two overlapping applications in Guatemala.
“Intellectual Property (IP) experts examined the patent application and determined that it does not comply with Guatemala’s patentability requirements. The patent office must reject Gilead’s attempt to obtain a monopoly, in order to uphold our patentability standards; ensure access to affordable treatment; and to send a message out across Latin America and the Caribbean that these standards must be upheld, whether in relation to remdesivir, any other drugs produced by Gilead, or by any other pharmaceutical corporation,” says Alma de Leon, ITPC-LATCA’s Regional Director.
The action taken by Guatemala adds to a growing list of countries fighting back against Gilead’s unscrupulous tactics:
- Civil society in Argentina has opposed two patent applications on remdesivir;
- India has opposed six;
- Russia issued a compulsory license on remdesivir, and Gilead is now suing the country for exercising its legitimate right to act to protect public health.
“The way Gilead has behaved during this pandemic has reaffirmed what treatment activists already knew – that medicines should not be treated in the same way as non-essential commodities. The loopholes that allow corporations to profiteer off medicines must be closed. Essential medicines, vaccines and medical products must be restored to the status of a ‘public good’,” says de Leon.