[Ip-health] KEI and Médecins Sans Frontières propose contractual terms to protect access and affordability of Zika vaccine

Kim Treanor kim.treanor at keionline.org
Tue Jul 25 11:06:39 PDT 2017


KEI and Médecins Sans Frontières propose contractual terms to protect
access and affordability of Zika vaccine
Kim Treanor on 25 July 2017

25 July 2017
CONTACT: Kim Treanor, kim.treanor at keionline.org or +1 (202) 332-2670

Washington, 25 July 2017 - Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have sent a letter today to the Command
Judge Advocate of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
(USAMRMC), recommending two specific contractual terms for the proposed
license of the US Army’s Zika vaccine technology to Sanofi Pasteur.

The suggested terms are aimed at ensuring access and affordability for
individuals in both the United States and in other countries where Zika has
struck. A representative of Sanofi wrote a letter to the Command Judge
Advocate of USAMRMC and six U.S. Senators on July 12, 2017, denying that
any specific terms on fair pricing have yet been presented by the Army and
rejected by the company.

The first recommendation by KEI and MSF is that USAMRMC require that Sanofi
to disclose the steps it will take to enable the registration and
availability of the vaccine at an affordable price in every county with a
demonstrated need, according to the CDC/WHO, either by supplying a country
directly at an affordable, publicly disclosed price and with sufficient
quantities, or by providing technology transfer and rights to all
intellectual property necessary for third parties to do so.

The second recommendation for the license text by KEI and MSF is for the
USAMRMC to require that Sanofi agrees to make the vaccine, which is being
developed with U.S. taxpayer funds, available to the public in the U.S. at
publicly disclosed prices no higher than the median price charged in the
seven countries with the largest GDP, which have per capita incomes of at
least half that of the U.S.

KEI and MSF specifically cite Sanofi’s track record of high prices and
limited access for drugs it has developed, and urge that pricing
discussions occur prior to the issuance of any license.

While these terms are recommended for any license granted by USAMRMC to
Sanofi, KEI and MSF reiterate their position that there is no reason to
proceed with a license at this time, and recommend a non-exclusive license
if one must be granted.

The following statement should be attributed to James Love, Director,
Knowledge Ecology International:
“Sanofi wants a monopoly on a US government funded vaccine until 2036, and
they don’t want to discuss the price until after they have obtained a legal
monopoly from the Army, which holds a patent on the vaccine. Sanofi claims
the Army never made a specific proposal on pricing to Sanofi. MSF and KEI
are asking the Army to make a specific proposal, suggesting two terms, that
collectively will expand access to a vaccine the US government has funded,
and which can prevent birth defects. Someone in the Trump administration
should pay attention to this giveaway to a French drug company, and deal
with the pricing issue.”

The following statement should be attributed to Jason Cone, Executive
Director, USA, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders:
“This Zika vaccine could save countless lives all across the globe, but
only if it actually reaches the people who need it most. At MSF, we see
every day the rationing of essential medical care due to high prices and go
without certain drugs and vaccines altogether. That’s why it’s critical the
US government demands that this taxpayer-funded Zika vaccine is affordable
and available for everyone, including treatment providers like MSF. If
Sanofi or any company can develop and sell this Zika vaccine under a US
government-given monopoly, it should at least have to disclose the steps it
will take to register this product and make it available at an affordable
price in every county that needs it.”

The letter is available as a PDF here:

KEI has a web page on the Zika vaccine licensing dispute here:


Kim Treanor
Knowledge Ecology International
kim.treanor at keionline.org
tel.: +1.202.332.2670

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