[Ip-health] J&J told to join the Patent Pool Party

Diarmaid McDonald Diarmaid at aidsconsortium.org.uk
Fri Apr 1 04:09:39 PDT 2011

AIDS campaigners in bikinis and board shorts accuse Johnson & Johnson of
turning their backs on life-saving HIV initiative


*         No more tears? Campaigners say baby products manufacturer's
decision to withhold its HIV drugs from 'patent pool' undermines
initiative which could help save lives of millions of children and
adults at risk

*         Patent Pool Party protests at J&J HQ and at pharmacies across
London mark the start of a campaign to get the company to change its
mind and start talks with the Medicines Patent Pool


Over 100 Student Stop AIDS campaigners staged a series of bikini and
board short clad protests at Johnson & Johnson UK offices and across
London on Wednesday as they demanded the pharmaceutical company, maker
of the famous 'no more tears' baby products, change its mind and join
negotiations with the Medicines Patent Pool to help get life-saving HIV
medicines to the 10 million people still waiting for treatment around
the world.


Johnson & Johnson make a number of vital HIV drugs most of which
currently cost thousands of pounds a year in many developing countries,
pricing them out of the reach of the poor people who need them.


By refusing to negotiate with the Patent Pool, campaigners say J&J are
risking the success of an initiative which could help save the lives of
millions of children and adults. To make their point they staged 'Patent
Pool Parties', complete with beach balls and arm bands, at the Johnson &
Johnson HQ and pharmacies across London, pleading with J&J to accept the
invitation to join.


Stop AIDS Campaign coordinator Diarmaid McDonald said,


"This decision by Johnson & Johnson flies in the face of their public
image as a trustworthy friend of parents. By refusing the invitation to
join talks with the Patent Pool they are closing the door on an
initiative which could help countless parents and babies access their
life-saving HIV drugs. We're here in bikinis and speedos asking them to
accept the invite to the Pool Party. We really hope they reconsider so
we can welcome them to the party."


The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), which is supported by the UK and US
governments, is an innovative approach to tackling the barriers to
affordable HIV medicines, creating a one-stop-shop which should make it
easier for generic manufacturers to produce more affordable, more
effective drugs. Established by UNITAID in September 2010, the MPP is
already in negotiations with four pharmaceutical companies including
GSK/Viiv and Gilead to reach agreement on their participation.


Johnson & Johnson's refusal to enter talks has particularly angered
campaigners as the National Institutes of Health, the US government's
medical research arm, has already reached agreement with the MPP for the
rights they own on Darunavir - a promising new HIV drug that could be
particularly useful for people living with HIV whose current medication
is failing. J&J own the rest of the patent rights, so by turning their
backs on the MPP they are effectively blocking generic production of
Darunavir through the Pool.


Lotti Rutter who coordinates the Student Stop AIDS Campaign called on
the public to support the campaign by taking action at 


"One of the problems in the past has been companies making small,
tokenistic efforts to ease access to treatment. The Medicines Patent
Pool is a solution which aims to be industry-wide, matching the scale of
the challenge. It's very frustrating that instead of supporting the pool
and joining the party, J&J instead announced they're going to play by
themselves - an isolated initiative which will never solve the huge
problems that the Patent Pool could.


"This is just the start of the campaign - with so many millions waiting
for HIV treatment we will keep pressuring J&J to join until they change
their mind. We hope the parents and families who use Johnson & Johnson
products will support us and go to our website to send a message to
Johnson & Johnson to live by their motto and help ensure there are 'no
more tears' for the children waiting for HIV treatment."



Diarmaid McDonald

Stop AIDS Campaign Coordinator


00 44 (0) 20 7324 4785


Stop AIDS Campaign
UK Consortium on AIDS & International Development
Grayston Centre
28 Charles Square
London N1 6HT


www.stopaidscampaign.org.uk <http://www.stopaidscampaign.org.uk> 


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