After over two years of campaigning by the Student Stop AIDS Campaign, the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation (MPPF) officially launched for business in September. The Patent Pool is a ground-breaking voluntary initiative which aims to ‘pool’ patents on HIV medicines, allowing generic manufacturers to produce affordable versions of existing drugs and to develop new more appropriate medicines in exchange for a fair royalty payment to the patent holders.
With this also came the announcement of the first licence agreement signed by the newly formed MPPF with the world’s largest funder of bio-medical research, NIH. This is an important endorsement by the US government of the Pool’s innovative approach to increasing access to life-saving HIV medicines across the developing world.
This licence agreement covers darunavir, a new anti-HIV medicine which will become increasingly important as the effectiveness of the older medicines reduces over time. The licence for darunavir, is also owned in part by pharmaceutical company Tibotec-Johnson & Johnson so their participation in the pool is essential.
But the work doesn’t stop here! Student campaigners in the UK are now facing the challenge of encouraging two British based pharmaceutical companies to sign up, GlaxoSmithKline and its subsidiary ViiV Healthcare, and Gilead. For more information and to take action please click here.