Medicines Patent Pool Releases Status of Negotiations with HIV Medicines Patent Holders

Four pharmaceutical companies have stated their intent to enter into formal negotiations with the Medicines Patent Pool – but five companies that hold patents on important AIDS medicines have yet to agree to do so.
“We welcome the fact that that Gilead, ViiV, Roche and Sequoia have sent a clear signal that they wish to seriously engage with the MMP,” said Michelle Childs, Director of Policy Advocacy at MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.  “Which begs the question: why won’t Merck, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson/Tibotec, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim get on board?   They have given different reasons for not doing so. Some have said that that they do not wish to do so because they want more specifics, but any questions cannot be resolved if they refuse to negotiate.  Given the strong backing that has been given to the pool, these companies and their shareholders need to consider the message their present position sends to governments, donors and treatment providers about their true willingness to support a voluntary approach. ”
Several companies have recently entered into voluntary license agreements with generic manufacturers.  However, most agreements so far are overly restrictive in terms of which regions they cover, and leave out too many people living with HIV and do not include enough generic companies to create the level of competition needed to sufficiently drive prices down. 
“The needs are not going away any time soon,” said Dr. von Schoen-Angerer.  “There are five million people on AIDS treatment in developing countries today but another 10 million are in urgent need and will die within the next few years without it.  We need a collective response on the part of companies and governments.”
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Page updated: 11 February 2011
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