After nationwide condemnation through the press, the government has at last reached a pharmaceutical deal that guarantees life-saving treatment for Portugal’s 13,000 registered Hepatitis C patients.
The news signals sighs of relief from all those who felt they were being consigned to the scrap-heap because of the high cost of ‘sofosbuvir’ – the revolutionary drug purported to have a 90% success rate in treating chronic cases of the life-threatening disease.
Sadly though, it has come too late for Maria Manuela Ferreira (see: http://portugalresident.com/hepatitis-c-patient-dies-after-being-denied-%E2%80%9Clife-saving-drug%E2%80%9D) who died in Coimbra last week waiting for the chance of ‘sofosbuvir’, manufactured under the brand name Sovaldi. But perhaps the seriously bad press that followed her death contributed to the speeding up of the government’s new deal, which guarantees treatment for the nation’s infected for the next three years.
According to press reports this morning, the director of Gilead – the US pharmaceutical giant that manufactures ‘sofosbuvir – travelled from Geneva to Portugal to negotiate the deal personally.
It had been reported that Gilead’s original price for Portugal was around €42,000 per course of treatment – while in Spain, it was only €25,000.
Thus the reason behind the months of wrangling that has seen so many Hepatitis C patients in states of high anxiety.
By NATASHA DONN