The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to HIV, viral hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments in low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, the MPP partners with governments, industry, civil society, international organisations, patient groups and other stakeholders to forecast, prioritise and license needed medicines. The organisation encourages generic manufacture and the development of new formulations through patent pooling.
To date, the MPP has signed agreements with seven patent holders for twelve HIV antiretrovirals and for one hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral. Its generic partners have distributed 7.2 million patient-years of WHO-recommended HIV medicines to 117 countries.
The MPP was founded and remains fully funded by UNITAID.
The MPP by the Numbers
7 Patent holders with MPP signed agreements
12 Generic manufacturers sub-licensed from the MPP
13 Medicines licensed to the organisation
52 On-going pharmaceutical development projects
90% Price Reduction on a key medicine for an HIV opportunistic infection
87% to 93% of people living with HIV in developing countries covered by the MPP adults licences
92 to 127 Countries covered by MPP adults licences
120 Million dollars saved from 2012 to June 2015
Agreements with patent holders
The MPP has signed agreements for twelve priority HIV medicines and for one hepatitis C medicine with patent holders AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Gilead Sciences, MSD, the NIH, and ViiV Healthcare.
The licences include patented ARVs the World Health Organization recommends for first-, second- and third-line treatments for adults and children of different age groups. Licences also include new promising ARVs that likely will be central to treatment in the future.
MPP licences enable the manufacturing of generic ARVs and their sale in countries where between 87 and 93% of people with HIV in the developing world live. This includes all low-income countries and 55-80% of World Bank classified middle-income economies.
In addition, MPP negotiated an agreement with F. Hoffmann-La Roche to provide an up to 90% reduction in the price of a key treatment for HIV-related cytomegalovirus infection in 138 countries.
In November 2015, MPP signed a royalty-free licence with Bristol-Myers Squibb for a hepatitis C medicine shortly after the announcement of the expansion of MPP’s mandate to cover hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatment.
For a summary of the features of each MPP licence please click here.
Licensing terms and conditions
The Access to Medicines Index and other stakeholders have recognised the terms and conditions of the MPP licences as being pro-access, having the greatest flexibilities and broadest geographical scope.
Agreements with Generic Manufacturers
The MPP is currently managing more than 50 HIV pharmaceutical development projects with manufacturers to help speed availability of quality-assured generic versions of new ARVs, including new fixed-dose combinations.
Sub-licences with 12 generic manufacturers are already enabling the development, manufacturing and sale of HIV and hepatitis C medicines in a large number of developing countries.
In May 2014, MPP joined its funder UNITAID, as well as the DNDi and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) to launch the Paediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI) to accelerate the development of HIV paediatric formulations and ensure their availability in developing countries.
Savings through MPP Licences
MPP estimates that the international community could save a total of USD 1.4 billion through the procurement of cheaper generic medicines thanks to the voluntary licences negotiated by the MPP. Savings estimates are calculated on the basis of forecasts developed in consultation with the World Health Organization and other leading organisations.*
MPP licences have already generated USD 120 million in savings for the international community and since 2012, 7 million patient-years of WHO recommended ARVs have been supplied by MPP’s generic partners.  Lower royalties as well as the ability of generic manufacturers to sell licensed products in more countries, have allowed governments and international agencies to buy the drugs at lower prices and thus stretch their treatment dollars.
All MPP licences are publicly available in their entirety on the MPP website. This is unprecedented in the pharmaceutical field.
The MPP Patent Status Database has provided transparency on the patent status of 24 ARVs in 89 developing countries and is widely used by procurement agencies and other stakeholders around the world.
* Estimates do not include: (i) Possible future savings from licensing compounds that are currently in early stage clinical trials (i.e. phases 1 and 2); (ii) Efficiencies in procurement generated by the transparency created by the MPP Patent Status Database; (iii) Savings from licences covering secondary patents (with few exceptions); (iv) Savings from additional competition generated by MPP licences in countries already covered by pre-existing licences; (v) Effects of the normative changes created by the MPP through spread of licensing terms negotiated by the MPP in its licences; (vi) Public health impact of new paediatric formulations being developed with MPP licences; (vii) Public health impact of earlier availability of fixed-dose combinations on new ARVs based on MPP licences.
 During the period January 2012 to June 2015