News & AnalysisPHARMACEUTICALS

Advocates Protest the Cost of a Hepatitis C Cure

Science  13 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6164, pp. 1302-1303
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6164.1302

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Summary

A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $1000 per pill. The drug, sofosbuvir, must be combined with other drugs and used for 12 weeks to cure an infection, a regimen that only wealthy countries can afford. Advocates are urging Gilead Sciences, sofosbuvir's manufacturer, to sell the drug at a steep discount to cash-strapped countries, which are home to more than 100 million HCV-infected people. And they want Gilead to offer this differential pricing today, not several years from now, as happened with the anti-HIV drugs that revolutionized AIDS treatment.