Washington DC, USA
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has succeeded in reducing the price of expensive medicines that can cure people living with hepatitis C (HCV), according to an announcement made at its 57th Directing Council meeting. PAHO has negotiated prices of US$129 for 3 months of treatment from generic sources of sofosbuvir/daclatasvir. This significant move could enable national programmes to scale up diagnosis and treatment and eliminate HCV as a public health problem.
HCV affects about seven million people in the Americas, but the majority of those living with the disease are not diagnosed and have no access to treatment. Few countries have to date managed to secure broad access to affordable medicines.
“This new price achieved by PAHO could help change the scenario for the countries where patent barriers don’t prevent them from purchasing generic sources,” said Michel Lotrowska, Director of DNDi Latin America. “With prices ranging from $1,230 to $4,500, the affordability barrier remains considerable for countries where HCV medicines are under patent, unless they take steps to overcome regulatory or intellectual property barriers.”
DNDi supports PAHO’s decision to make these prices public, as transparency is an important factor in helping countries know about and obtain lower prices. DNDi calls on PAHO and its member states to continue to use all options to improve access to affordable treatments, including following the example of countries such as Malaysia, where the local authorities have issued a “government use” (compulsory) licence enabling access to generic versions of a patented medicine to treat the disease.
Photo credit: Vinicius Berger-DNDi