Many Hepatitis C Patients Do Not Have Access To Medicines In India, Group Says 27/07/2016 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Despite being the global leader of generic drug manufacturing, access to hepatitis C treatment in India remains out of reach for a large portion of the population, a civil society group has said in a new paper. The authors call for India to work on a national programme of prevention and treatment of hepatitis, and warn against voluntary licences developed by multinational pharmaceutical companies. Lawyers Collective, a civil society group advocating human rights, issued a paper titled “Ensuring Access to HCV Treatment in India; a rights-based analysis [pdf].” New therapies such as daclatasvir (from Bristol-Myers Squibb) and sofosbuvir (Gilead Sciences) are available in India at much lower prices than in developed countries, for example sofosbuvir is 99 percent cheaper in India than it is in the United States, according to the authors. However, India has the largest number of poor people in the world, and only 24 percent of the population is covered by some form of health insurance either through government-sponsored schemes or private insurances, the paper said, which makes the prices on the market still unaffordable for the poor. “As of 2011, India ranked first among the top ten countries with the largest global share of extremely poor,” according to the authors. The authors also warn against the voluntary licence model of multinational pharmaceutical companies, which they say “are now being propagated” by those companies “as their new business model to promote access to medicines.” “These approaches are essentially targeted at controlling market competition and restricting any possible government intervention to achieve desired price reduction through the use of TRIPS [World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] flexibilities.” For example, the Gilead licences exclude high HCV-burden countries from their scope, and “contain controversial provisions regarding anti-diversion measures, which pose serious ethical breaches” to patient confidentiality, they said. The paper is co-authored by Anand Grover, Lorraine Misquith, Dr. Samiran Panda Dr. Saubhik Ghoshᶧ and Giten Khwairakpam. Image Credits: Lawyers Collective Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Many Hepatitis C Patients Do Not Have Access To Medicines In India, Group Says" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.