Medicines Patent Pool statement at the 70th World Health Assembly

Agenda item 13.3: Addressing the global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines

MPP representative: Esteban Burrone, Head of Policy

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the report and its call for Member States to continue progress towards achievement of SDG target 3.8.

The report recognises the importance of public health principles in the development of intellectual property (IP) policies and strategies. Through its voluntary licensing and patent pooling model, the MPP supports public health-oriented management of IP rights to accelerate access to affordable medicines in low- and middle-income countries. Our licences with the pharmaceutical industry are non-exclusive to ensure competition. They facilitate the development of treatments adapted to developing country needs, are consistent with the use of TRIPS flexibilities, and enable over 130 low- and middle-income countries to benefit from access to affordable quality-assured generics.  To date, the MPP has licences on 15 medicines for HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) and tuberculosis, including nine formulations on the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML).

As indicated in the report, a number of new patented medicines have been submitted for inclusion in the WHO essential medicines list in areas beyond HIV, HCV and TB. Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health needs of countries and need to be affordable, available and accessible to people in need.  Last year, in its submission to the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, the WHO recommended that consideration be given to the expansion of the patent pooling model to all patented essential medicines. The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines reiterated this recommendation. The MPP is pleased to inform Member States that thanks to the support of the Swiss Government, we initiated exploratory assessment of a potential expansion of the patent pooling model to patented essential medicines. During this process, the MPP will be consulting with key stakeholders, including governments, experts, the pharmaceutical industry and civil society.

We look forward to continuing to work with Member States on the implementation of resolution WHA67.22.

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