[Ip-health] KEI statement on GSK's announcement of policies to expand access to patented medicines.

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Thu Mar 31 05:30:46 PDT 2016


KEI statement on GSK's announcement of policies to expand access to
patented medicines.

GSK has made a major announcement of new polices to expand access to its
patented medicines. A copy of the press statement is here
In a nutshell, GSK promises to file fewer patents or license patents in low
income countries, lower prices in lower income countries, make its patent
landscape more transparent, and to license patents to its oncology drugs to
the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), in a number of (but not all) low and
middle income countries. Knowledge Ecology International issued the
following statement today:

The decision by GSK to license patents on cancer drugs to the Medicines
Patent Pool (MPP) is welcome and impressive news. At present, the
disparities in access to cancer drugs are incredibly harsh, and much more
unequal than one sees for HIV and HCV drugs, the two areas where the MPP is
now active.

The details will be important. For both HIV and HCV drugs, the MPP has used
open licenses that are transparent. Companies can sign on to MPP licenses
and still maintain independence from the patent holder on other issues, and
these features are important, and we assume that GSK’s decision to use the
MPP is a decision to embrace these policies.

All of the MPP licenses apply to a limited number of countries, and do not
address all of the important access challenges. For this reason, it has
been important that the MPP licenses have also allowed products
manufactured under an MPP license to be exported to countries outside of
the licensed territory, where there is no patent or where compulsory
licenses have been issued. We also expect the GSK licenses for cancer drugs
to permit exports outside of the territory, where the exports are otherwise
lawful in the importing country.

The GSK decisions on filing and licensing patents on other products in
lower income countries, and the commitments on pricing and transparency,
are all welcome initiatives.

Other companies, such as Roche, Novartis, Bayer, Astellas, and BMS, with
important oncology drugs should begin to engage on expanding access to
their patented medicines, beyond just HIV and HCV drugs.

Sir Andrew Witty has shown exceptional leadership, and we look forward to
the implementation of this ambitious set of initiatives. In our view, even
these welcome measures are not enough, and we continue to press for global
delinkage of R&D costs from drug prices, and open licenses on all products.
But people live and die in both the short and the long term, and the GSK
announcement means more cancer patients will live longer and better lives
in the near term, and that is good news."

Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
Knowledge Ecology International
zack.struver at keionline.org
Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428

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