MSF secures generic hepatitis C treatment at $120 per course
MSF press release
On 31 October 2017, on the eve of the World Hepatitis Summit in Sao Paulo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced that it had secured deals for generic hepatitis C medicines for as low as US$1.40 per day, or $120 per 12-week treatment course for the two key medicines sofosbuvir and daclatasvir.
In the US, sofosbuvir was launched by Gilead at $1,000 per pill in 2013, and daclatasvir was launched by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) at $750 per pill in 2015. This led to the original combined price of $147,000 for a 12-week combination course.
In 2015, MSF started procuring sofosbuvir and daclatasvir from Gilead and BMS through their ‘access programs’ at a price of $1,400 to $1,800 per 12-week treatment. Today, MSF pays a fraction of that, at $120, sourced from quality-assured generic manufacturers.
An estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection worldwide, 72 per cent of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. Direct-acting antiviral medicines (DAAs) represent a treatment breakthrough for people with hepatitis C, with cure rates of up to 95%, and with far fewer side effects than previous treatments. Yet access to DAAs has remained limited because of unaffordable prices, leading many countries to reserve treatment only for people with the most advanced stages of the disease.
By the end of 2016, three years after sofosbuvir was launched, only an estimated 2.1 million people globally had been treated with the medicines, leaving 69 million people still without access.
These high prices have also put a major strain on health systems in wealthy countries, in particular those enacting universal health care. Treatment is being rationed in countries such as Australia, Canada, Italy and the US, in addition to developing countries, and is a stark reminder of the early days of HIV treatment.
This is a reduced version of the press release that is online in full. 
Additional briefing on HCV is also recommended. 
- MSF press release. MSF secures generic hepatitis C treatment at $120 compared to $147,000 launch price. (31 October 2017).
- Not Even Close: This issue brief provides information on currently available HCV diagnostics and treatments, including pricing and registration information from manufacturers of DAAs