Strengthening Our Partnerships to Increase HIV Medicines Access

Fighting the global epidemic of HIV requires alliances between all key HIV stakeholders: governments, communities of people living with HIV and both generic and originator pharmaceutical companies. One MPP aim is to strengthen partnerships between these groups as we work towards the common goal of increasing treatment for the people who most need it.

I see the momentum of the MPP’s work with its partners growing and am looking forward to what the next few months will bring. Success over the last few months tells a promising story:

We have signed two collaborations with originator pharmaceutical companies: one, with ViiV Healthcare, to increase access to treatment for one of HIV’s most neglected populations: children; and one, with Roche, to increase access to a medicine to treat an opportunistic infection called cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in people living with HIV that, if untreated, can cause blindness.

With generic companies, the MPP has enhanced its licence management strategy to ensure its licences result in impact. The MPP conducts technology transfer, helps generic companies liaise with regulatory authorities, and aids with product development. We have already reached an agreement with Aurobindo Pharma Limited to manufacture generic versions of ViiV’s abacavir and expanded the number of generic manufactures producing medicines licensed to us from Gilead Sciences by licensing these to Shasun Pharma Solutions in February and Shilpa Medicare in June.

New WHO guidelines for the treatment of HIV released in July 2013 called for increasing access to medicines to 26 million people living with HIV, underlining the importance of a mechanism like the MPP to facilitate this access. MPP has already succeeded in ensuring that the preferred first-line treatments for both adults and children are licensed into our pool.

We are beginning to see the impact of this work. So far, at least 20 countries are able to access lower cost versions of critically needed medicines through MPP licences. There is a lead-time between licensing and production, thus we expect this number to grow.

The MPP has also been building its expertise. The Patent Status Database for HIV Medicines, called “an essential impartial reference source” by the Global Fund and “an invaluable step towards furthering access to treatment” by the UN Children’s Fund now collects data on 72 patents, in 80 countries, covering 26 HIV medicines. The MPP is currently running an open online consultation asking users and stakeholders how best to develop the database further.

A systematic review of CMV prevalence sponsored in part by the MPP was recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, and is helping to catalyse initiatives to treat this HIV-related infection, which we believe will be greatly assisted by our agreement with Roche on Valganciclovir.

Our joint MPP- WHO satellite meeting to be held in Copenhagen around the WHO pre qualification event later this month will seek to increase our partnership with the generic and originator industry and look at collaborative ways to meet the challenge of increased access that new WHO guidelines require.

I see this work gathering speed and look forward to what the next several months will bring.

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