Geneva, 1st December 2014 World AIDS Day – The reality is striking: only a quarter of the 3.2 million children living with HIV worldwide are currently on treatment. However, today’s agreement between AbbVie and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) – entirely financed by UNITAID, for two key WHO-recommended paediatric medicines, lopinavir and ritonavir, is a major step in the right direction.
This new licence will enable more affordable and improved formulations of the medicines to be produced in more than 100 countries where 99% of the infected children live. This is the first time that AbbVie has granted a licence for generic production of its HIV drugs.
Most significantly, this deal is a major step forward for progress towards universal access, as it will enable the treatment of many more in need from the same amount of resources.
In fact, since 2010, UNITAID’s investments in the MPP have yielded 2.6 times the value of its funding through such licensing deals. Between 2010 and 2028, this return on investment is projected to generate between $1.18 - $1.4 billion in savings due to price reductions through generic product manufacturing of key HIV medicines.
“MPP now has licences that include all the patented ARVs recommended as preferred first line treatments by the WHO for adults and children of all age groups. This is the beginning of a new way to allow for the poorest to be treated with dignity,” said Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of the UNITAID Executive Board.
“Pushing to develop effective, affordable treatments for children in need, including children under three, is a major priority for UNITAID,” said Lelio Marmora, UNITAID’s Executive Director. “Paediatric HIV has been a neglected disease for far too long and we simply cannot go fast enough to make available the right kind of treatment. This step forward from our MPP investment is a real sign of progress.”
This new licence supports the work of the Paediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI), a partnership between UNITAID, MPP, DNDi and Clinton Health Access Initiative, to spur the development of improved medicines for children.
The licence also extends the MPP’s licence portfolio to eleven antiretrovirals. It already holds licences for other paediatric medicines from patent holders Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare.
UNITAID funds the MPP as a key part of its strategy to increase access to key HIV/AIDS medicines.