China rejects patent linked to Gilead hepatitis C drug

China has rejected a Gilead Sciences Inc patent application related to its costly hepatitis C drug, a U.S. advocacy group said, adding the move may lead to other countries to consider rejecting patents for the controversial treatment.

Gilead has drawn fire for the cost of its top-selling drug Sovaldi, priced at $1,000 per pill in the United States or $84,000 for a typical 12-week course and its patents have been challenged in the U.S., India and Europe.

The application China has rejected was for a so-called prodrug, the inactive form of the drug which then converts into the chemically active compound once in the body, the New York-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) said.

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