Doctors of the World opposes to another Sofosbuvir patent
This major patent protecting Sofosbuvir has been granted to Gilead in June 2016. MdM assume it does not comply with patentability requirements per defined by 1973 European Patent Convention.
With this proceeding, we are going on with the campaign launched years ago to reduce exorbitant prices for new hepatitis C drugs in France and in Europe. Those prices bar the way to full access to drugs that cure hepatitis C. Doctors of the World has already opposed to a major Sofosbuvir patent in February 2015. In October 2016, European Patent Office has stated that Gilead did not have met all the requirements for its patent application. This decision led to cancel Sofosbuvir chemical formula from the scope of the patent. It means that Sofosbuvir as a drug is no more protected by the patent. Yet, Gilead keeps on requesting high prices for a drug no more protected as initially; and governments keep on accepting paying high prices.
“2015 opposition was the ever first opposition proceeding against a drug patent carried out by civil society in Europe. We have demonstrated that we could successfully invite ourselves in the patent system in Europe to raise non-compliance with patent regulation” states Dr Françoise Sivignon, President of Doctors of the World-France.
Our previous proceeding has paved the way. Today, 30 NGOs and CSOs from 17 European countries are committed in this new proceeding. 10 sections from Doctors of the World international network in Europe, 13 sections from Doctors without Borders international network in Europe, 5 national CSOs and European Public Health Alliance join this new opposition.
“We do endorse the market and patents as the current backbone for drugs. But there are some rules. Yet, patentability rules are not always respected by pharmaceutical companies; yet, market rules are not fully implemented by governments in charge of regulation” states Olivier Maguet, drug pricing campaign responsible.
While challenging patent system, Doctors of the World aims to produce legal arguments that may help governments in the balance of power with pharmaceutical companies – to date unequal for governments. This new proceeding should incentivize governments to use the most powerful legal tool they get: compulsory license.
Aurélie Defretin / Lisa Veran 01 44 92 13 81 / 06 09 17 35 59