[Ip-health] IP Watch: GSK Eases IP Rights For Poorest Countries, Considers Patent Pooling For Cancer

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Thu Mar 31 06:48:07 PDT 2016


​GSK Eases IP Rights For Poorest Countries, Considers Patent Pooling For

As the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to
Medicines initiative continues its work, the GlaxoSmithKline company today
announced steps to further help bring innovative medicines to poor

The global medicines manufacturer said it wishes to widen access to its
innovative new medicines around the world. The company, which already set
tiered pricing, data-sharing, and “innovative partnerships,” said it
recognises that improved access “requires a flexible and multi-faceted
approach to intellectual property (IP) protection,” according to a press

GSK is evolving its graduated approach to filing and enforcing patents so
that IP protection reflects a country’s economic maturity, said the release.

“For Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Low Income Countries (LICs), GSK
will not file patents for its medicines, so as to give clarity and
confidence to generic companies seeking to manufacture and supply generic
versions of GSK medicines in those countries.”

“For Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs) generally, GSK will file for
patents but will seek to offer and agree licences to allow supplies of
generic versions of its medicines for 10 years.” A small royalty on sales
is envisaged for those countries, said the release.

For the rest of the countries, GSK “will continue to seek full patent

Furthermore, GSK said it intends to commit its future portfolio of cancer
treatments to patent pooling and ” will explore the concept with the
Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to help address the increasing burden of cancer
in developing countries.” “GSK would be the first company to take this

“Changes to patents and IP systems will not solve the multi-faceted
challenges of improving healthcare in developing countries,” it said. “In
cancer for example, improving outcomes in developing countries requires
better funding, improved screening and diagnosis, more cancer doctors and
better hospital services as well as access to treatments.”

Public health advocates Knowledge Ecology International applauded the GSK
decisions and said Sir Andrew Witty (CEO of GSK) “has shown exceptional
leadership.” In an announcement <http://keionline.org/node/2452>, KEI said,
“The decision by GSK to license patents on cancer drugs to the Medicines
Patent Pool (MPP) is welcome and impressive news.”

Witty, who recently announced he will be stepping down, is a member of the
UN High-Level Panel. The panel is meeting this week behind closed doors on
Long Island, New York to start drafting its report due in June.

“All of the MPP licenses apply to a limited number of countries, and do not
address all of the important access challenges,” KEI said. “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

“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,” KEI urged.​

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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