[Ip-health] Civil Society Urgently Calls on Pharmaceutical Companies to Join the Medicines Patent Pool

Daniel Hougendobler dan.hougendobler at gmail.com
Sat Dec 1 12:51:28 PST 2012

Hello all,

Please find below a statement, signed by a group of civil society
organizations, demanding that pharmaceutical companies quickly enter
into and conclude negotiations with the Medicines Patent Pool.

Please feel free to share widely with organizations who may want to
sign.  We will continue to accept signatures on the letter until
Friday, 7 December at which point we will send the letter to
pharmaceutical companies.  If you'd like to add your organization's
signature, please email me at dah93 at law.georgetown.edu.



World AIDS Day 2012: Civil Society Urgently Calls on ViiV, Bristol
Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson and Other Drug Companies to Join the
Medicines Patent Pool Under Terms and Conditions that Ensure Access to
Treatment for All

In 2011, UNAIDS’ call for Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination and
Zero AIDS-Related Deaths was echoed around the world. This World AIDS
Day, we, the undersigned organizations, are encouraged that according
to UNAIDS, new HIV infections have dropped dramatically in hard-hit
countries and treatment rates continue to rise.  We urge governments
worldwide to accelerate the scale-up of HIV treatment as we fight to
fulfill the UN mandate to reach 15 million people with access to
life-saving medication by 2015.

To break the back of the epidemic, we must go further, and faster. For
these initial gains to continue, costs—particularly for second- and
third-line treatment—must be reduced significantly. Second-line
treatments cost 6 times more than first-line regimens, while
third-line treatments cost 14 times more.[1] Nearly all patients will
eventually need to move to newer and better treatments as they
naturally develop resistance to their first-line therapy. Without
enormous price reductions, the high cost of drug company monopolies on
life-saving drugs will break the bank for treatment and set back the
gains made toward Universal Access.

In 2010, backed by civil society mobilization and support, the
Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) was launched by UNITAID to negotiate
licenses on patented drugs with pharmaceutical companies to
dramatically reduce costs. We condemn companies that are trying to
incorporate restrictive and dangerous terms and conditions in
voluntary licenses, either in negotiations with the MPP or in the
current wave of closed-door negotiations for industry-driven,
secretive voluntary licenses. Companies have actively sought
conditions that implicitly or explicitly restrict generic competition,
almost always leaving out people living with HIV/AIDS in middle-income
countries where the epidemic is growing fastest.

For example, Johnson & Johnson’s recently announced decision not to
enforce its patent rights for darunavir in low-income countries and
sub-Saharan Africa is woefully inadequate, denying access to patients
in middle-income countries. HIV/AIDS patients in Brazil for instance
will continue to have to pay over $6000 USD per person per year for
this drug alone. We demand that, in order to make an actual impact on
promoting access rather than merely enhancing its public image,
Johnson & Johnson put its drug patents in the MPP without exclusionary
conditions that leave out poor people, regardless of national income

Companies cannot hide behind donation and discount programs. Only
transformative change in the global R&D system and stronger limits on
companies’ monopolistic behavior will ensure that all people living
with HIV in the developing world have access to the same affordable
and effective treatment that those living with HIV in more developed
countries currently enjoy. Generic competition is the best way to
reduce the cost of treatment. Putting patents for HIV medicines into
the MPP without restrictions on low- and middle-income countries is
the minimum companies must do.

Therefore, we demand that:

·      Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, and ViiV,
who have already entered into negotiations with the Medicines Patent
Pool, conclude these negotiations quickly and on terms that ensure
access for all the world’s poor;

·      Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson/Tibotec, and Merck
immediately join negotiations with the Medicines Patent Pool;

·      All companies agree to licenses that provide coverage to all
poor people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries
without restriction;

·      Companies refrain from seeking restrictions on the use of TRIPS
flexibilities or limits on the manufacturing capacity of either raw
materials (APIs) or full compounds;

·      All licenses that patent-holding companies sign with generic
companies be made public.

Failure to comply will result in scaled-up, global campaigns for
compulsory licenses, local generic production and other remedies that
ensure all patients in need are reached at the lowest cost.

We request to meet with representatives of the companies named above
to discuss how negotiations can be entered into and concluded as soon
as possible on terms that put patients first.

[1] http://utw.msfaccess.org/background

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