Mylan, US drug maker soon to distribute two drugs in India to treat liver diseases. Mylan Pharmaceuticals said its Indian subsidiary, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Private Limited, has received exclusive rights to distribute the branded medicines Sovaldi for liver diseases and Havaroni for chronic hepatitis C.
India last month became the first country in Asia to approve Sovaldi, and distribution of the branded drug is set to begin in the second quarter this year, Mylan said. "Hepatitis C is a growing public health concern, particularly in developing countries such as India where access to high quality, effective and affordable treatment remains a challenge, said Mylan president Rajiv Malik in a statement."
Malik called Sovaldi and Harvoni "life-saving medications that offer an improvement in the standard of care for the 12 million hepatitis C patients in India." Last September Mylan also won the non-exclusive right to manufacture and distribute generic versions of Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), as well as another hepatitis C drug Gilead has under development.
Gilead has been under pressure to make its expensive Sovaldi and Harvoni treatments more accessible for the large numbers of people suffering from the liver disease. Up to 150 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection, according to the World Health Organization. As many as 500,000 die each year from related liver diseases.
In the US market, Sovaldi costs $1,000 a pill, and a full course of treatment costs $84,000. Treatment with Harvoni costs $94,500. Mylan did not say how much it would charge for the two branded Gilead drugs in India. Mylan shares dipped 0.2 percent and Gilead climbed 1.5 percent in morning trade on the Nasdaq.