MPP statement at the 144th session of the WHO Executive Board on 29 January 2019, item 5.7.2:
Speaker: Esteban Burrone
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the report.
We note that the document mentions voluntary license agreements as one option to enhance affordability and accessibility.
Voluntary licences have played a strong role in facilitating access in other areas such as HIV and hepatitis C. Licences between the MPP and patent holders have enabled early entry of generic manufacturers and price competition in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As a result, health systems were able to procure effective new treatments at more affordable prices. Originators received a royalty. And millions of people gained access to treatments.
Last year, following strong support from WHO Member States, the MPP expanded its mandate to work on other patented essential medicines, which could include priority cancer medicines. We are currently working with the WHO and others to identify treatments for which a similar model could be applied.
Based on our experience, we would therefore like to focus our intervention today on the use of voluntary licensing in the field of cancer.
- Firstly it is important to highlight, in addition to country engagement, the commitment needed from the industry for voluntary licensing to be possible.While access licences have so far not been a key avenue for access in cancer, the MPP has started preliminary discussions with industry to consider the licensing route for cancer medicines as a tested mechanism to facilitate access in LMICs.
- Secondly, voluntary licensing can be an effective tool that can be applied early on in the product lifecycle, without requiring prior price negotiations. We are encouraged that some companies have committed to developing access programmes prior to the launch of products. We look forward to engaging further with them to explore options in relation to products that meet public health gaps in LMICs.
We look forward to continuing to work with WHO and its Member States to accelerate access to essential medicines in LMICs.