[Ip-health] Companies Holding Key HIV Medicines Patents Must Join the Patent Pool To Increase Access

Kaitlin Mara kmara at medicinespatentpool.org
Fri Nov 30 08:14:22 PST 2012

WORLD AIDS DAY, 1 DECEMBER 2012: For the first time in the history of the
HIV epidemic, more than half of those who need treatment have access to
it. This represents extraordinary progress, and a life-saving development
for the 8 million people now on antiretroviral therapy.

The international community has made a commitment to reach 15 million with
HIV treatment by 2015, and this goal is clearly attainable ­ if
affordable, adapted HIV drugs are made more widely available.

One way to ensure available, affordable HIV medicines is for key
pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily license their products to the
Medicines Patent Pool. The Medicines Patent Pool has been endorsed by the
World Health Organization, the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, and the
Group of 8 as a promising innovative approach to improve access to HIV

On World AIDS Day, the Pool calls on companies holding key HIV medicines
to grant broad, access-oriented licences to the Pool as soon as possible.

A new, updated working paper released today from the Medicines Patent Pool
provides a list of the priority medicines that should be licensed to the
Pool, based on an analysis of clinical need and likely patent barriers.
Research by the Pool presented at the 2012 International AIDS Conference
lays out key access related terms and conditions that the Pool strives to
meet in its licences. Both of these are available on the Pool's website.

Already, licensing agreements made through the Pool are beginning to
change the way medicines are made available for people living with HIV in
low- and middle-income countries. Key first-line HIV medicine tenofovir is
now available at lower prices and in more countries than previously.

And in August, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a new
fixed-dose combination treatment for HIV, the Quad. Usually there are
delays of many years between when new medicines are approved in developed
countries and when they become available in developing countries. But
through Medicines Patent Pool licences, production on the Quad in
developing countries will begin much sooner. Technology transfer has
already begun to further speed the process.

³The Medicines Patent Pool works for all stakeholders ­ it facilitates
market access for generic companies, allows patent holders a fair royalty
stream and a way to collaborate towards enhancing access in developing
countries, and most importantly allows people living with HIV easier
access to the quality medicines they need to survive,² said Chan Park,
Interim Executive Director of the Pool.

Two years ago on World AIDS Day, the Pool formally invited eight
pharmaceutical companies to join the Pool in making medicines available to
stop the rising tide of the HIV epidemic.

So far, one company ­ Gilead Sciences ­ and one research body ­ the US
National Institutes of Health ­ have given licences to the Pool. Four
additional companies are in negotiations to do so: Boehringer-Ingelheim,
Bristo-Myers Squibb, F. Hoffman-La Roche and ViiV Healthcare [a joint
venture of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Shinogi]. Three companies have so
far remained outside: Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck.

The Pool urges the remaining three companies to enter negotiations with
the Pool, and for those in talks to conclude public heath-oriented and
transparent licensing agreements benefiting people living with HIV in
developing countries.

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