A Proposal for Change: Managing Patents for Access to AIDS Medicines for All
Ellen 't Hoen (The Netherlands) of UNITAID discussed the Medicines Patent Pool, a new mechanism that allows patent holders to voluntarily offer the intellectual property related to their AIDS medicines, under certain conditions. Any company wishing to use the intellectual property to produce the drugs can do so in exchange for a royalty payment. t'Hoen noted that if licenses for patents on AIDS drugs are not made available in countries that grant patents, generic competition will no longer be able to play a role in bringing down prices.
Over the past 10 years, activism, generic competition for medications, the development of fixed-dose combinations, and many countries' willingness to use flexibilities in national and international patent rules have greatly increased access to antiretroviral therapy, according to t'Hoen. However, many patients will soon need to switch to much more expensive second- and third-line drugs and the World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending newer, safer, patent-protected medications. By making licenses available and harnessing the power of competition in medicines markets, the Medicines Patent Pool could promote the availability of better and more robust treatments and generate considerable cost savings.
ART Advances Into the Next Decade
Dr. James Hakim (Zimbabwe) of the University of Zimbabwe called on the HIV/AIDS community to accelerate access to antiretroviral therapy that
|Contact: Regina Aragon|
International AIDS Society