G8 Encourages Drug Companies to Work With the Pool

Medicines Patent Pool Statement on G8 Communiqué

27 May 2011

The Medicines Patent Pool is pleased by the recognition of its work in today’s G8 communiqué, which reads: “we welcome the Patent Pool Initiative launched by UNITAID in order to facilitate production of affordable generic medicines well-adapted for use in resource-poor settings, and we invite the voluntary participation of patent owners, private and public, in the project.”

We believe the HIV pandemic is a critical public issue world wide, but especially in developing countries where all too often medicines are priced out of reach of those who need them most. In particular, children who suffer from the disease have so few medicines suited for their use that paediatric HIV has become a neglected disease. The Pool was founded with the support of UNITAID to address one of the barriers to lower cost medicines and needed new innovation – the lack of access to the licences needed to stimulate generic competition that brings down prices, and to make child-friendly medicines or simplified formulations of existing drugs that make treatment regimes easier to follow and scale-up in poorer settings. The Pool negotiates with the holders of critical HIV medicines patents for these public-health oriented licences. Once a “pool” of patent licences is formed, generic manufacturers and product development initiatives can obtain the licences they need to make the medicines people living with HIV need.

“This further solidifies growing international support for the Medicines Patent Pool, which was also recently made a part of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS strategy for the next five years,” said Ellen ‘t Hoen, the Pool’s executive director.

“But the endorsement of the G8, where the majority of HIV medicines patent-holding companies are based, is particularly welcome and will encourage additional companies to engage in negotiations with the Pool.”

More information on the Pool is available at www.medicinespatentpool.org

The UNITAID statement on the G8 communiqué is available here.

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