[Ip-health] Civil Society groups call on pharmaceutical companies to put their patents into the Medicines Patent Pool

Jessica Hamer JHamer at oxfam.org.uk
Wed Dec 15 09:01:20 PST 2010

Please see below for a letter from a coalition of NGOs, sent to CEOs of 
the following companies today: Abbott, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers 
Squibb, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Roche and ViiV. 

15th December 2010

Dear company CEO,

As 2010, the deadline for the achievement of universal access to HIV 
treatment, draws to a close, ten million people ? two-thirds of people in 
need in the world ? are still awaiting life-saving HIV medicines. We are 
writing as a coalition of NGOs to ask you to accelerate [company]?s 
efforts to save those lives by licensing your HIV-related patents and data 
rights to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), now established as a separate 
legal entity.

The UNITAID-initiated patent pool has the potential to significantly 
reduce the price of antiretrovirals, speed the creation of essential new 
fixed-dose combinations, increase access to newer, more effective 
treatments and help stimulate production of child-friendly formulations.

Over 80% of those receiving HIV treatment in developing countries receive 
inexpensive and high-quality first-generation generic drugs, lawfully 
produced in India. However, the large numbers of patients who are still 
awaiting treatment highlight that existing solutions do not go far enough. 
An effective patent pool fostering generic competition is an essential 
tool in expanding treatment to those in need, and facilitating access to 
improved second- and third-generation medicines. 

[company] has contributed to improving access to antiretrovirals. 
Therefore, we urge you to respond positively to the recent invitation to 
formal negotiations with the MPP, and to do all in your power to reach a 
full agreement with the pool on the terms of a licence for all relevant 
HIV drug patents and related data rights, as soon as possible. We also 
urge you to ensure those terms allow access for the millions in need of 
treatment in all low- and middle-income countries, and for the terms of 
the agreement to be public. 

The patent pool is supported by governments and global organisations. The 
UK government has recently confirmed its definitive support for the patent 
pool as an innovative solution to the treatment access challenge. The US 
government signalled its support with the licensing agreement signed with 
NIH. The Global Fund, the world?s largest purchaser of antiretrovirals, 
called on drug companies to share their AIDS drug patents with the pool 
?without delay". NGOs and our public supporters are joined by governments, 
the media and patients? groups across the world in our keen attention to 
see negotiations swiftly and successfully concluded. 

We hope that you will publicly support this innovative initiative. This 
voluntary solution can only succeed if companies like [company] commit to 
making it work. A lack of cooperation by companies with the pool will be a 
clear indicator that a voluntary, collective approach to ensuring access 
to life saving medicines is not one [company] supports.

As representatives of NGOs and community groups, we would welcome the 
opportunity to meet with you to discuss [company]?s position on the pool. 
We look forward to hearing from you about your positive engagement with 
the pool.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Esther Tallah, UNITAID Board Member, Communities. Cameroon Coalition 
Against Malaria. esther.tallah at gmail.com 

Mr. Nelson Otwoma, UNITAID Alternate Board Member, Communities. National 
Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. 
otwomatom at yahoo.com 

Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni, UNITAID Board Member, NGOs. Oxfam. 
mkamalyanni at oxfam.org.uk 

Ms. Kim Nichols, UNITAID Alternate Board Member, NGOs. African Services 
Committee. kimn at africanservices.org 

Action Medeor E.V. (Germany)

ACTWID ? Rural Women and Youth Network of Cameroon 

African Services Committee

Alianza LAC Global por el Acceso a Medicamentos

American Medical Student Association

Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria

CITAM+ (Community Initiative for TB, HIV/AIDS & Malaria), Zambia

CONERELA+ (Congo Network of Religious Leaders living with or affected by 

Dhruvh ? Social Awareness Forum, India


European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG)


Fundacion Mision Salud de Colombia

Global AIDS Alliance

Global Health Advocates

Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS)

Health Access Network - Ghana

Health GAP (Global Access Project), USA

International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium

Knowledge Ecology International

Médecins Sans Frontières, Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines

National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA)

National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya 


Partners in Health

Positive-Generation, Cameroon

Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

REMED (Réseau Médicaments et Developpement)

Restless Development

Results UK

Stop AIDS Alliance

Stop AIDS Campaign 

Stop AIDS in Liberia (SAIL)


The Good Neighbour (Nigeria)

Treatment Action Campaign 

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines

Zambia Association for the Prevention of HIV and Tuberculosis (ZAPHIT)

Jessica Hamer
Liaison officer, Civil Society Delegations to UNITAID Board
Telephone:    +44 (0)1865 473508
Mobile:            +44 (0)7879 474766
Email:              JHamer at oxfam.org.uk
Skype:             'jessica.hamer'

Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.

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Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
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