SPECIAL NEWS

Gilead Science expands hepatitis C generic licencing agreement to Malaysia

American research-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Science has decided to expand its HIV and hepatitis C generic licencing agreement to Malaysia, Thailand, Ukraine and Belarus.

Hailing the development, Malaysian think-tank Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy said it would be a “game changer” in the fight against Hepatitis C in the country.

Its chief executive officer Azrul Mohd Khalib said more than 400,000 Malaysians between 15 and 60 years old are currently estimated to be living with Hepatitis C.

“With Hepatitis C treatment currently costing as much as US$30,000 (RM128,115) per person, this granting of a Sofosbuvir voluntary licence by Gilead Sciences will mean that it will be possible for lower-cost generic versions of this life-saving drug to be made available in Malaysia.

“It will allow for the drug to be used in combination with others. Most importantly, it will be possible for thousands of lives to be treated and cured of this disease,” he said.

Sofosbuvir is the innovator drug owned by Gilead Sciences.

Azrul also hoped that with access to the drug, the Malaysian Ministry of Health would be in a better position to work together with non-governmental organisations, patient groups and the pharmaceutical sector towards achieving its goal of ensuring that those in need of Hepatitis C treatment “can get it and afford to do so”.

It was previously reported by a local news agency that it may cost up to RM300,000 for patients to have a full course of treatment.This was because Malaysia was not given special pricing for the drugs by pharmaceutical companies as it is considered as a middle-income nation.

In July, the health ministry acknowledged that the treatment for Hepatitis C is very expensive and it was collaborating with other partners to find an affordable cure.


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