The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has launched a collaboration with ViiV Healthcare—a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Shionogi—to facilitate greater availability of critically needed medicines for children living with HIV.
Worldwide, 3.4 million children are living with HIV. But only 562,000 of them have access to medicines, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Treating them with currently available drugs is challenging, as many are not adapted for use in children.
Under the collaboration, one key pediatric HIV medicine recommended by the WHO, abacavir, can be supplied in the 118 countries where 98.7% of children living with HIV reside, under a patent license.
MPP and ViiV Healthcare have agreed to negotiate more licenses to allow manufacture of low-cost versions of promising new, better adapted pediatric medicines ViiV Healthcare is currently developing. These could then be sold in the 118 countries once the medicines receive quality and safety approvals. ViiV Healthcare and MPP will work together with other stakeholders to explore the development of more pediatric medicines. MPP and ViiV Healthcare also have committed to considering solutions for countries outside the 118.
“The daunting problem of treating childhood HIV can only be solved when all stakeholders work together,” said Greg Perry, MPP’s executive director.
“The Medicines Patent Pool is a win-win-win solution—it provides an innovative new business model for the pharmaceutical industry to contribute to global health, it aids low-cost, quality medicines manufacturers by allowing them easier access to the market and, most importantly, allows people living with HIV around the world timely access to life-saving treatments,” he added.
The Medicines Patent Pool was founded by the innovative financing mechanism UNITAID, based at the World Health Organization, to lower the cost of HIV medicines through licensing of key HIV patents and to promote the development of needed formulations, such as medicines for children.
The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations backed, public-health driven business model that aims to lower the prices of HIV medicines and facilitate the development of better-adapted HIV medicines, founded in 2010. It works by creating a pool of relevant patents for licensing to generic manufacturers and other producers, facilitating the generic competition that brings down prices and can help stimulate innovation.