LONDON, March 27 Two international medical
humanitarian organisations said on Monday they had challenged
the patent on Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug
sofosbuvir at the European Patent Office in order to increase
access to the treatment.
Sofosbuvir, sold by the U.S. drugmaker as Sovaldi, is
transforming the liver-destroying viral disease by offering an
effective cure, but Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Medecins
du Monde (MdM) said its high cost was a serious barrier.
The campaigners argue that the patent on the drug is open to
challenge because the science behind sofosbuvir is not new.
If the patent challenge is successful, it could make cheaper
generic versions of sofosbuvir available in Europe. MSF and MdM
said key patents on sofosbuvir had already been revoked in China
and Ukraine, and decisions were pending in other countries.
Officials at Gilead were not immediately available to