I-MAK challenges Gilead patents on hepatitis C drug

Consumer group Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has urged the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel patents owned by Gilead Sciences Inc on its blockbuster hepatitis C drug Sovaldi.

I-MAK wants to help bring cheaper generic versions of the treatment to market.

I-MAK has asked the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board to invalidate six Gilead patents covering Sovaldi’s active ingredient and structure, saying they describe obvious tweaks to existing compounds used in older HIV and cancer drugs.

“The market for medicines isn’t working,” said Tahir Amin, co-founder and co-executive director at I-MAK.

“Drug companies are abusing the patent system to block millions of Americans from getting treatment and keep prices artificially high.

“These Gilead patents simply don’t meet the legal standard of being novel and non-obvious.

“Unmerited patents are a root cause of high drug prices and deserve much closer scrutiny.

“Removing these unmerited patents will allow more affordable generic drugs to be introduced much sooner, saving lives and saving taxpayers billions of dollars.”