Breakthrough or backbreaking?

On the trail of Gilead’s $1000-pill

You have at least 8-10 million people with Hepatitis C in India; you are leaving behind 10-15% difficult-to-treat patients, and you have new infections of this silent killer every year. Yet you can eradicate it, like Polio. Because there’s a drug. So, what’s next?

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Every once in a while comes a discovery that brings about a seismic change. And every once in a while, also comes a  business decision that enhances the seismic effect. One such discovery was the drug sofosbuvir, approved in late 2013 by the US regulator for treating Hepatitis C. It was the first time a drug could ‘cure’ this deadly, but silent, viral infection. Gilead Sciences sized up the windfall and priced it at $1000 a pill, the total treatment tab amounting to $90,000. The whiplash against the offensively high pricing was global but in India, the…

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