Brazil court strips Gilead hepatitis drug patent, politician says

By Maria Carolina Marcello and Gram Slattery BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A Brazilian court has stripped the patent protection of a Gilead Sciences Inc big-selling hepatitis C treatment in Brazil, paving the way for cheaper generics, a presidential candidate who pushed for the move said on Monday. At a campaign event in the northeastern city of Maceio, center-left candidate Marina Silva said the court invalidated the exclusivity patent for the drug sofosbuvir, sold under the brand name Sovaldi, in a move that she said will reduce costs for patients. Sovaldi was the first of a new generation of drugs that are effectively a cure for the serious liver disease

Reuters September 25, 2018 00:06:17 IST
Brazil court strips Gilead hepatitis drug patent, politician says

Brazil court strips Gilead hepatitis drug patent politician says

By Maria Carolina Marcello and Gram Slattery

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A Brazilian court has stripped the patent protection of a Gilead Sciences Inc big-selling hepatitis C treatment in Brazil, paving the way for cheaper generics, a presidential candidate who pushed for the move said on Monday.

At a campaign event in the northeastern city of Maceio, center-left candidate Marina Silva said the court invalidated the exclusivity patent for the drug sofosbuvir, sold under the brand name Sovaldi, in a move that she said will reduce costs for patients.

Sovaldi was the first of a new generation of drugs that are effectively a cure for the serious liver disease. But despite Sovaldi representing a major treatment advance, Gilead came under intense criticism for a price that initially came out to $1,000 a pill in the United States. Other nations, such as India, and consumer groups have also challenged the patents.

The Brazil move comes as local pharmaceutical manufacturers Farmanguinhos-Fiocruz, Blanver and Microbiologica Quimica e Farmaceutica fight for the right to produce a significantly cheaper, generic version of the drug, with the support of Silva, a candidate who has championed environmentalism, relatively orthodox economics, and a robust social welfare net on the campaign trail.

According to local media, Farmanguinhos has proposed to Brazilian health officials producing a generic version of sofosbuvir for about a quarter of the price charged by the U.S. biotech company.

"This patent removal is a legitimate act of defense for the life of those who are in line for an extremely expensive treatment," Silva said.

Brazilian justice officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. A representative for Gilead did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

The patent decision underscores how individual companies have been dragged into Brazil's volatile presidential campaign, with right-wing front-runner Jair Bolsonaro criticizing certain investments by Chinese firms, and investors girding for more intervention in state-controlled companies should a leftist win.

Brazilians will go to the polls on Oct. 7 for the first round of the nation's presidential election. If no candidate wins a majority of valid votes, as is likely, there will be a runoff on Oct. 28.

Right-wing Congressman Bolsonaro and leftist former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad are seen as most likely to face off in the second round, in what polls indicate will be a tight race.

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello and Gram Slattery; editing by Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.