Natco will sell the drug at `19,900 for a bottle of 28 tablets—one ninetieth of Gilead’s price, in Nepal under the brand name Hepacinat
Mumbai: Natco Pharma Ltd has on Monday introduced the first ever generic copy of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-pill Hepatitis C drug of Gilead Sciences Inc., in Nepal after the company received the regulatory approval from that government to execute an export order.
Hyderabad-based Natco was one of the 10 generic pharma companies to sign a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead to manufacture and sell this costly drug, which is the latest and the best available treatment for Hepatitis C at present.
Natco will sell the drug at ₹ 19,900 for a bottle of 28 tablets—one-ninetieth of Gilead’s price—in Nepal under the brand name Hepacinat.
The price of Sovaldi, developed and patented by Gilead, has been the topic of much debate globally after its launch in 2014. Although the drug cures Hepatitis C in more than 90% of those who for whom it has been prescribed, the 12-week course of treatment in the US was $84,000 ($1,000 a pill).
“Natco hopes to launch Hepacinat in India soon, subject to approval from the drugs controller general of India. Under the recently signed non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and sell generic versions of its chronic Hepatitis C medicine, Natco can sell the product in 91 developing countries," Natco said in a statement on Monday.
Following strong criticism form healthcare groups and various governments on the huge cost of the new drug, Gilead had taken a decision to license the manufacturing right of the medicine to generic companies to make it accessible in the low-income countries soon after its launch in the US.
Gilead had said in September that it has signed non-exclusive licensing agreements with eight India-based generic pharmaceutical manufacturers to expand access to its chronic Hepatitis C medicines in developing countries.