UACT Statement regarding Chilean Congress resolution calling on the President to advance the compulsory licensing request on HCV drugs

UACT applauds the Chilean Congress resolution calling on the President to advance the compulsory licensing request on HCV drugs made in March 2017 by patients, advocates including Innovarte NGO, and elected officials. The resolution, Number 1014, passed by a 96-0 vote with one abstention, and includes the signatures of representatives across the entire political spectrum 1.

In Chile, the private market price of sofosbuvir at the time of the compulsory licensing request was approximately $36,000 USD per patient. This price is well in excess of Chile’s GNI per capita of $14,100 USD 2. The Ministry of Health currently pays $7,000 USD for a three-month supply of sofosbuvir, but is unable to treat many of the thousands of patients that require treatment, thus forcing patients to either pay exorbitant and often unaffordable prices or go untreated.

Hepatitis C is known to lead to the liver cancer hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the fifth most common cancer and third most common cause of cancer death in the world 3, and is responsible for ten to twenty percent of virus-associated liver cancers 4. Scientific studies have found that patients treated with direct acting antivirals who achieve a sustained virologic response have a significantly lower risk of developing liver cancer.

UACT would also like to remind the Chilean Congress that the March 2017 compulsory license request also included Xtandi (enzalutamide), an important prostate cancer medicine marketed by Astellas Pharma, a Japanese company. The drug was developed at the University of California Los Angeles with the support of the U.S. government via grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. In Chile, the private market price of Xtandi is approximately $45,000 USD per patient per year, which is also well in excess of the GNI per capita of $14,100 USD. Too many patients continue to suffer needlessly when the government should be using the legal tools at its disposal to allow entry of generic competition that would make the drug affordable to all those in need.

1. More information on the resolution here: https://www.keionline.org/23751/
2. 2015 GNI per capita, Atlas method, current US$, World Bank World Development Indicators
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840947/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141529/