[Ip-health] IP-Watch: UNITAID-Backed Patent Pool Final; Drug Licence Talks Can Begin
thiru at keionline.org
Wed Jun 9 00:27:11 PDT 2010
Intellectual Property Watch
8 June 2010
UNITAID-Backed Patent Pool Final; Drug Licence Talks Can Begin
By William New and Kaitlin Mara @ 10:34 pm
The final step in the establishment of a patent pool initiated by
international drug-purchasing mechanism UNITAID was taken today, the
“All the practical hurdles” have been surmounted, said UNITAID Senior
Adviser on Intellectual Property and Medicines Ellen ‘t Hoen. Now
there is something in place “that can start seriously negotiating with
the drug companies” for licences she told Intellectual Property Watch.
UNITAID is “a laboratory for new initiatives and new thinking, and
today was an important step for all that,” ‘t Hoen added.
This “should save millions of lives of people living with HIV across
the developing world,” UNITAID Executive Board Chair Philippe Douste-
Blazy said to Intellectual Property Watch. Only 40 percent of those in
need of HIV treatment receive it, he said, but the patent pool will
“allow generic manufacturers to produce affordable versions of
existing HIV drugs and encourage research into new pediatric
treatments in exchange for a fair royalty payment.”
The UNITAID Board decided the organisation will enter into a
Memorandum of Understanding with a new Medicines Patent Pool
Foundation and provide US$ 4.4 million for its first year of
operations. UNITAID leverages price reductions for, and speeds
research and development on, pharmaceuticals needed in the developing
world. The voluntary patent pool is intended to lower prices and
increase access for, to begin with, antiretroviral medicines.
The Patent Pool Foundation, as an independent legal entity, will move
out of the World Health Organization but will be in Geneva, continue
to be a part of the UNITAID family and to work closely with the WHO,
‘t Hoen said. The foundation can continue say it was an initiative by
UNITAID so long as it is not a standing part of the brand, she added.
Figuring out how UNITAID and the patent pool would relate and refer to
each other was one of the practical hurdles to overcome.
Douste-Blazy said in a statement that formal negotiations with the
patent holders can now begin. “We expect the Patent Pool Foundation to
have its first licences within a year,” he said.
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
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