Skip to Main Content

In a setback for Gilead Sciences (GILD), Chinese authorities have rejected a key patent for its Sovaldi hepatitis C medicine, opening the door to generic versions of the groundbreaking pill a few years sooner than might have occurred otherwise.

The decision emerges from an ongoing effort by different advocacy groups to challenge Gilead patents for its hepatitis C medicines around the world in hopes of widening access. Although Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs have revolutionized treatment, they have also strained budgets, especially among cash-strapped governments with large numbers of citizens who are infected with the virus.


The decision marks the second time that China has invalidated a crucial patent for Sovaldi, which costs about $9,000, according to the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge, or IMAK, the group that filed the challenges. The previous invalidation occurred in 2015 for a patent covering the way a compound can be metabolized in the body, while the latest ruling concerns the base patent, or core component.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!