Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Alliance welcomes US advance on access to HIV medicines

1
OCT
2010

Aids Alliance

The Alliance today welcomed an agreement between the UNITAID-backed Medicine Patent Pool Foundation (MPPF) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to license the antiretroviral drug darunavir to the patent pool.

The Alliance campaigned alongside a number of civil society organisations to get UNITAID to creat the MPPF as an important mechanism to increas the availability of more affordable life saving generic medicines more affordable.

The patent pool was set up to help to tackle a growing crisis in the AIDS pandemic. HIV becomes resistant to treatment over time and those on treatment need to move onto newer, more effective drugs.

Anton Kerr, Head of Policy at the Alliance said: ‘The good news is that this is the first HIV drug to be added to the patent pool. The NIH is the medical research establishment of the US government and, as such, demonstrates real political commitment in the US to the UNITAID patent pool. We hope this will lead to further willingness by pharmaceutical companies to do the same.’

The patent pool gives producers and researchers the right to use relevant patents to develop medicines in exchange for a fair royalty payment to the patent-holder.

"We welcome the leadership shown by the White House to support innovative solutions fo affordable medicines. Increasing collaboration between the US and Europe is essential if we are to meet the health MGD's."

The Alliance has recently expanded its international policy presence in collaboration with its Dutch partner SAN! to promote policy dialogues and harmanization between Europe and the US. "we aim to maximise the opportunities of coordinating policy and advocacy work with our partners across Europe and in the US. The challenges we face in meeting the health MDG's are great. We need far more EU and US collaboration and the NIH's support for the UNITAID patent pool is a small but important first step.