[Ip-health] World AIDS Day 2012: Civil Society Calls on Drug Companies to Join the Medicines Patent Pool

UAEM ED administrator at essentialmedicine.org
Thu Jan 3 12:14:20 PST 2013

Dear all,

Please find below a letter sent to the CEO's of 6 pharmaceutical
companies--ViiV, BMS, J&J, Merck, GSK, and Abbott--calling on them to join
the Medicines Patent Pool.  It is signed by 70 civil society organizations
from around the world.


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

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

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.  Nearly all patients will eventually need to move to
newer and better treatments as theynaturally 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 least-developed 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
people based on national income rankings.

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 universal access for
all those living in low- and middle-income countries;

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

•  Companies agree to licenses that include all 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.

In the march towards universal access, we pledge to increase the momentum
of our campaigns on compulsory licences, patent oppositions, price control,
local production, and law reform and against harmful free trade agreement
provisions that limit access to life saving treatments.

Companies wishing to escape the harsh consequences of inaction must
immediately enter into licences with the Medicines Patent Pool under the
terms listed above that cover all people living with HIV across the
developing world.

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.           ACT UP Boston, U.S.A.
2.           ACT UP San Francisco, U.S.A.
3.           ACTWID KONGADZEM, Cameroon
4.           Africa Regional Platform on Health
5.           African Community Advisory Board, Int’l
6.           African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR)
7.           AIDS Alliance in Nigeria
8.           AIDS Info Centre, Uganda
9.           AIDS Law Project, Kenya
10.         American Medical Students Association (AMSA), U.S.A.
11.         Asociación Para Una Vida Mejor de Personas Infectadas/Afectadas
por el VIH-Sida en Honduras (APUVIMEH-Honduras)
12.         La Asociación Unidos por un Nuevo Camino (ASUNCAMI), Bolivia
13.         Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (REDBOL)
14.         Cameroon TB Group
15.         Casa Renacer, Honduras
16.         China HIV/AIDS Information Network (CHAIN)
17.         Coalition15%, Cameroon
18.         Colega O.A.C. Colectivo Gay de Occidente A.C., Mexico
19.         Condomóvil A.C., Mexico
20.         Corporación Fomento & Desarrollo Pacifico, Colombia
21.         Diversum México
22.         East European and Central Asia Union of PLWH
23.         Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organizations
24.         Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN)
25.         European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG)
26.         Francophone Forum Against TB, Int’l
27.         Fundación Proyecto Gente, Colombia
28.         Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
29.         Grupo Esperanza y Vida/MLCM+ Uruguay/Red de PVVS de la Frontera
30.         Harvard College Global Health and AIDS Coalition, U.S.A.
31.         Health Development Initiative, Rwanda
32.         Health Global Access Project (HealthGAP), U.S.A.
33.         Health Poverty Action, Int’l
34.         Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development, Uganda
35.         International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
36.         International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, Eastern
Africa (ICW - Eastern Africa)
37.         International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA)
38.         International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Eastern Africa
39.         International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Indonesia
40.         IP-Left, South Korea
41.         Joint Adherence Brothers and Sisters Against AIDS, Uganda
42.         Kairos, Zimbabwe
43.         Lean on Me, Kenya
44.         Médecins Sans Frontières – Access Campaign, Int’l
45.         Medsin UK
46.         Mesa de Concertación LTGB y TS de Lima Metropolitana, Peru
47.         Mouvement Camerounais pour le Plaidoyer et l'Accès aux
Traitements (MOCPAT), Cameroon
48.         National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in
Kenya (NEPHAK)
49.         Oxfam International
50.         Pan-Africa Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC)
51.         Pan-African AIDS Treatment Movement (PATAM)
52.         Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Nigeria
53.         Positive-Generation Cameroon
54.         Positive Malaysian Treatment Action & Advocacy Group
55.         Positive Youth Initiative Nigeria (PYIN)
56.         RAME, Burkina Faso
57.         SECTION27, South Africa
58.         Senderos Asociación Mutual, Colombia
59.         Setshaba Research Centre, South Africa
60.         Solidarity for HIV/AIDS Human Rights NANURI+
61.         Stop AIDS Campaign, UK
62.         Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), U.S.A.
63.         STVBrasil
64.         Treatment Access Watch Africa
65.         Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa
66.         Treatment Action Group (TAG), U.S.A.
67.         Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC), Zambia
68.         Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, Int’l
69.         World AIDS Campaign
70.         Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project, University of Zimbabwe

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