[Ip-health] The Medicines Patent Pool Welcomes New WHO Treatment Guidelines

Kaitlin Mara kmara at medicinespatentpool.org
Sun Jun 30 06:04:18 PDT 2013

New World Health Organization guidelines for the treatment of HIV released
today are calling for increased access to better-tolerated medicines to be
available to millions more people living with HIV. Priority medicines
under the new WHO guidelines are covered by agreements made through the
Medicines Patent Pool, which will help ensure better access to these
medicines in developing countries.

An immediate impact of the new guidelines will be to increase the number
of people needing treatment immediately ­ to 26 million from close to 17
million under the 2010 guidelines, said WHO ­ as WHO is recommending
treatment start earlier in the HIV disease progression, moving from a CD4
count of 350 to a CD4 count of 500. The WHO has recommended all children
under 5 years of age be given treatment regardless of CD4 count (previous
recommendations said that children under 3 should be given treatment
regardless of CD4).

The need for affordable, widely available HIV medicines has never been
clearer. The WHO estimates that implementation of the guidelines ³could
avert as many as 3 million AIDS-related deaths and 3.5 million new HIV
infections between 2013 and 2025.² To do this will require more funding,
and more widely available and affordable medicines.

The WHO has streamlined its recommendations on treatment regimens:
tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) based treatments are now the preferred
first-line treatment line for adults and teenagers from 10-19 years of
age, and abacavir-based treatment regimens are the preferred first-line
treatment for children up until the age of 10.

Agreements signed through the Medicines Patent Pool are already working to
ensure that these important medicines become more widely available.

A licence signed with Gilead Sciences in July 2011 allows tenofovir to be
made and sold at lower cost by generic companies in 112 countries where
the majority of people living with HIV reside, and contains a special
provision that allows companies to make and sell tenofovir in several more
countries where there are no patents on it. The MPP estimates that 20
countries have benefited from this provision so far. To date, six generic
manufacturers have signed up to make medicines under this agreement, and
they are already producing and selling lower cost HIV medicines around the

A more recent agreement with ViiV Healthcare [a joint venture of
GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Shionogi] signed in February 2013 will make
quality, affordable generic abacavir more widely available to children
with HIV in the 118 countries where 98.7% of them live.

One generic company, Aurobindo, has already signed on to increase access
to these medicines for children. ViiV and the MPP in the meanwhile have
committed to working with other companies to ensure more innovative
medicines suited to children¹s particular needs are developed and sold
where they are most needed.

The Gilead and ViiV agreements will help achieve the WHO guidelines by
facilitating access to needed medicines.

The MPP works to expand access to HIV medicines through licensing of key
medicines patents. The MPP then out-licenses these patents to HIV
medicines manufacturers to stimulate robust competition that increases
availability of low-cost, quality versions of needed medicines and to
stimulate innovation on needed new medicines. The MPP was founded by
innovative financing mechanism UNITAID in July 2010 and has been endorsed
by the World Health Organization, the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, and
the Group of 8 as a promising, innovative way to increase access to

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