China’s State Intellectual Property Office has revoked the
patent on Gilead
’s hepatitis B drug tenofovir (Viread), which
is used to treat HIV/AIDS and is considered one of the top two
antivirals available for treating hepatitis B worldwide because of
its potency and low rate of drug resistance. This means any drug
company can now produce tenofovir in China.
China’s largest manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients,
Aurisco, had challenged the patent, arguing that the drug did not
deserve patent protection because its active ingredient has been in
the public domain since 1985, and other tenofovir-related patents
were for additives that aid absorption of the daily pill. Viread’s
patent protection was originally slated to last until 2017.
Tenofovir had been at the center of China’s push to get drug
companies to be more flexible with pricing, while simultaneously
offering limited patent protection to attract foreign investment.
China has more than 30 million people with chronic hepatitis
B, one-third of the world total, according to the Worth Health
Organization. HIV/AIDS cases in China are increasing, with 11,575
deaths in 2012.
Labels: patent, tenofovir