7 India-based generic drugmakers were licensed by Gilead Sciences Inc. for bringing in cheaper versions of Sovaldi to 91 countries, thus bringing about an expansion in the reach of hepatitis C drug which is sold in the United States for $84,000.
With this agreement Strides Arcolab Ltd., Sequent Scientific Ltd., Ranbaxy Laboratories, Mylan Laboratories, Hetero Labs, Cipla Ltd. and Cadila Healthcare Ltd. can make Sovaldi.
The pricing of the drug has dawn criticism from the benefit managers of the pharmacy and questions from Ron Wyden and Charles Grassley, who have demanded to know how Gilead came up with a figure. The announcement of these agreements was done amid protests from activist groups that said that the licenses fail to cover-high burden nations such as Thailand, Mexico, Brazil and China.
“Our view is that the competition and the capabilities of these partners will bring down the price,” Gregg Alton, an executive vice president at Foster City, California-based Gilead, said at a news conference in New Delhi. Indian partners having the capability of low-cost manufacturing, high-quality manufacturing and large scale manufacturing were chosen by Gilead. They have an ability of supplying the market.
The U.S drugmaker has plans of selling the branded version of Sovaldi in India at a cost of around $900 for 12 weeks of the therapy. Probably, the drug would reach the market by year end if clinical trials are run. Gilead is in talks with Indian regulator for waiving off the trial requirement.
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