[Ip-health] UNITAID Statement on New Negotiations by Medicines Patent Pool

unitaid unitaid at who.int
Mon Jul 18 06:47:28 PDT 2011

UNITAID Statement on New Negotiations by Medicines Patent Pool

Rome, 18 July 2011 - Unitaid welcomes today's announcement made at the
IAS AIDS conference in Rome that the Medicines Patent Pool has started
negotiations with Boehringer-Ingelheim and Bristol-Myers Squibb for
patents on HIV medicines essential for treating people living with HIV
and AIDS in the developing world. 

The Pool was already in negotiation with five other patent holders and
concluded its first licensing agreement with a leading pharmaceutical
company, Gilead Sciences, announced a week ago by the Patent Pool and
UNITAID in London last week.

"UNITAID has worked for four years to develop the Medicines Patent Pool
concept. Today we are proud to see that it is becoming a tangible
reality," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, chair of the UNITAID Executive
Board. "I salute these important steps by Gilead and other
pharmaceutical companies and urge other pharmaceutical companies to
place their patents at the service of global public health."

UNITAID welcomes analysis of the licenses to ensure that each new
agreement raises the floor and improves access to quality affordable,
and appropriate HIV medicines.

The Gilead licenses agreements with the Patent Pool critically improve
upon the status quo in a number of ways. First, the agreements with
Gilead cover a broader geographic scope than current licenses. Second,
there is nothing in the licenses that limits countries' the use of TRIPS
flexibilities. Third, though this first agreement is limited to Indian
manufacturers, a restriction UNITAID wishes to see improved upon in
future licenses, we also recognize that India currently produces 90
percent of generic antiretroviral medicines distributed and use by
people living in Sub-Saharan African, the region in the world with the
highest burden of HIV. Fourth, a number of other important public health
protections are included in the agreements including waivers of data

The unprecedented transparency of the agreement (available here:
Patent-Pool-and-Gilead-Licence-Agreement) enables this helpful analysis
and debate.

Further, UNITAID reiterates once again the need for current negotiations
on free trade agreements with India to avoid any negative impact on
India's ability to continue to supply affordable generic AIDS treatments
to the developing world.

The Gilead licences and the start of negotiations with
Boehringer-Ingelheim and Bristol-Myers Squibb will be critical steps
towards improving access to ARVs by increasing competition between
generic manufacturers and as a result will make these ARV treatments
more affordable.

UNITAID urges the remaining companies not in negotiations with the Pool,
Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Abbott, to join the pool in order to
facilitate the development of new fixed-dose combinations, new
paediatric formulations, and lower-cost medicines to enable wider
treatment of people in developing countries.


Contact: Daniela Bagozzi, Senior Communications Advisor, E:
bagozzid at who.int, M: +41 79 475 54 90.

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