The Medicines Patent Pool

Image: Momcilo Orlovic/Unitaid

Creating access to affordable, high-quality HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis medicines for lower- resource countries.

Challenges

Many developing countries around the world do not have access to affordable, lifesaving medicines. To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages”, essential medicines must be affordable. Patents are intended to reward innovation, but they can sometimes contribute to significant gaps in ensuring access to quality, appropriate, affordable, safe and effective medicines and technologies, particularly in lower-resource countries.

Solutions

Since its establishment by Unitaid in 2010 until 2020, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has played a critical role in addressing the availability and affordability of quality assured medicines for HIV and hepatitis C through negotiating voluntary licences with patent holders. Based on the success of its model, the MPP has expanded its HIV, TB and HCV scope to now include long-acting technologies as well as patented medicines that feature on WHO’s Essential Medicines List.

Licences negotiated by the MPP permit other pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce generic versions of patented medicines for developing countries. Licences also provide the freedom to develop new treatments, such as paediatric formulations and fixed-dose combinations. Competition among many manufacturers also brings prices down.

“We are running the biggest antiretroviral therapy programme in the whole world. We would not have been able to do so if not for generics. Companies are now willing to give voluntary licenses for others to manufacture generics.”

Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, minister of health, South Africa

Progress so far

Since its establishment in 2010, MPP has succeeded in revolutionising the access landscape for new treatments in lower-resource countries. Through licensing agreements with ten patent holders for 15 antiretroviral HIV drugs, two hepatitis C antivirals, one TB treatment and one HIV technology platform, MPP is currently working with 22 generic manufacturers and product developers to ensure access to affordable quality medicines.

The impact we are seeking

The MPP increases the speed and scale of access to the most innovative medicines by making them more affordable.



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