High Cost of Sovaldi Hepatitis C Drug Prompts a Call to Void Its Patents

Activists in several countries are seeking to void patents on the blockbuster hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, saying that the price being sought by the manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, was prohibitive.

The Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge, a legal group in New York, is expected to announce Wednesday that it has filed challenges in Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia and Ukraine. In all those countries except China, the organization is being joined by local patient advocacy groups.

The actions are a sign that the controversy over Sovaldi is spreading beyond the United States, where the $84,000 charge for a course of treatment has strained Medicaid budgets, to middle-income countries.

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