19 December 2023 | News

Unitaid awards US$24 million in funding to address intellectual property-related barriers to health technologies

With new grants issued to three organizations, Unitaid will continue to support work on the use of TRIPS flexibilities – internationally agreed legal mechanisms allowing countries to overcome or reduce the potential negative impact of patents in response to specific public health needs – to enable equitable access to critical health products in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This work aims to ensure the products are affordable and available to everyone in LMICs who needs them.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, a World Health Organization publication estimated that as many as two billion people lacked access to essential medicines. Then the pandemic overloaded health systems and set back progress on diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and hepatitis C, among others. It also laid bare profound disparities in the way that health research is conducted and how access to innovation is determined.

Without intervention, inequitable access will only widen, and populations that are already vulnerable and marginalized will face increasing risk of disease, poverty, reduced quality of life and even death.

Working in partnership with the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Third World Network (TWN), and Wemos, Unitaid will contribute to equitable access to health  products of public health importance by improving affordability, building capacity and improving supply of key tools for HIV, TB, hepatitis C, cervical cancer, and public health emergencies, in complementarity with other access strategies such as voluntary licenses.

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