Two new experts have been added to the Medicines Patent Pool’s Expert Advisory Group. The EAG evaluates draft licences and recommends whether or not the Pool should accept a licence as a significant improvement on the status quo in the direction of greater access to HIV medicines. In December 2011, the Governance Board of the Medicines Patent Pool decided to expand the EAG [pdf] to include two experts drawn from organisations representing communities of people living with HIV. A parallel process to expand the Governance Board with a representative of PLHIV communities is ongoing.
Wim Vandevelde and Gracia Violeta Ross, two long-time HIV treatment advocates, joined the now 12-person group EAG in June 2012.
Wim Vandevelde, a native of Belgium, has been a committed advocate for HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis C treatment for over a decade. Many of those years have been spent with the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), the leading HIV advocacy group in Europe that currently represents treatment activists from over 36 different countries, where Wim served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2009 (including two years as chair) and currently chairs the European Community Advisory Board, a working group of EATG that brings together civil society, researchers and the pharmaceutical industry to address issues of biomedical drug development and access to medicines issues.
Gracia Violeta Ross is an HIV positive advocate from La Paz, Bolivia. Ross studied Anthropology in Bolivia, and completed her master’s training in Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health in Peru. Since discovering her HIV positive status in 2000, she has served in the Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (REDBOL), including as its national chair for the last 7 years. Thanks to her experience as a rape survivor, she has a strong commitment to gender and AIDS issues. Ross has represented Bolivia and Latin America in global forums such as the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board and the Developing Countries NGO Delegation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Currently, Ross is the Community Representative of the TB-HIV Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership and a member of the Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women in Latin America and the Caribbean.