The Medicines Patent Pool 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 industry, civil society, international organisations, patient groups and other stakeholders to prioritise, forecast and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. 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 three billion doses of low-cost medicines to 117 countries. The MPP was founded and remains fully funded by UNITAID.
Affordable medicines allow millions of people around the world to lead longer, healthier lives. But millions more do not have access to affordable treatment.
Innovation is needed to ensure that the best medicines reach those who need them the most.
The MPP by the Numbers
6 Companies and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) collaborating with MPP
14 Generic manufacturers sub-licensed from the MPP
12 Antiretovirals licensed to the organisation
42 Million dollars saved from 2012-mid 2014
52 On-going pharmaceutical development projects
90% Price Reduction on a key medicine for an HIV opportunistic infection
1.18-1.4 US$ Billion projected savings from 2010-2028
1.5 Billion tenofovir-containing treatments delivered through MPP generic partners
Agreements with patent holders
The MPP has signed licensing agreements for twelve priority HIV medicines and for one hepatitis C medicine with patent holders (AbbVie, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Gilead Sciences, MSD, the NIH and ViiV Healthcare). For a summary of the features of each licence please click here.
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 94% 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.
Licensing terms and conditions
The terms and conditions of the MPP licences have been recognised as being pro-access, having the greatest flexibilities and broadest geographical scope by the Access to Medicines Index and many other stakeholders.
Agreements with ARV 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 10 generic manufacturers are already enabling the development, manufacturing and sale of ARVs 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. The PHTI, working in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, aims to deliver three new paediatric fixed-dose combinations by 2017.
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 ARVs 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 in HIV.*
The first MPP licence for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) has already generated USD 42 million in savings for the international community, equivalent to one year’s treatment for approximately 320,000 people. Lower royalties for TDF and TDF combinations as well as the ability of generic manufacturers to sell 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 25 ARVs in 85 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 2014