MSF charity secures generic hepatitis C drugs for $1.40 a day

LONDON (Reuters) - Medecins Sans Frontieres, the international nonprofit medical charity, said on Tuesday it had struck deals with generic manufacturers to buy hepatitis C drugs for as little as $1.40 a day, a dramatic reduction on original prices.

U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences created storm in 2013 when it launched sofosbuvir at $1,000 per pill in the United States, under the brand name Sovaldi. Bristol-Myers Squibb launched daclatasvir at $750 per pill in 2015.

Since then, increased competition has pushed prices lower for the modern medicines, which have cure rates of up to 95 percent for the liver-destroying disease.

The big drugmakers have offered discounts on their products for poor countries but MSF has long complained that the medicines are still too expensive.

MSF said the deals with generic companies meant it was now able to provide a 12-week course of treatment for around $120, against $1,400 to $1,800 available through Gilead and BMS access programs for poorer nations.

Nearly three-quarters of the estimated 71 million people living with chronic hepatitis C infection worldwide are in low- and middle-income countries.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely