Geneva, 31 March 2020 – The Board of the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has decided to temporarily expand its mandate to include any health technology that could contribute to the global response to COVID-19 and where licensing could facilitate innovation and access. With the support of Unitaid, this will allow MPP to offer its IP and licensing expertise to the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist the global effort in any way it can.
Both MPP and Unitaid underline their commitment to jointly ensure equitable and timely access to medicines and diagnostics by the most vulnerable populations, as stressed in the G20 Leaders’ 26 March 2020 Statement.
Marie-Paule Kieny, Chair of the MPP Governance Board, said, “In these difficult times, the MPP Board recognises the important role that MPP can play to increase access to life-saving products for those who need them most. And importantly, with time of the essence, to ensure that we make use of the expertise and mechanisms that already exist.”
Marisol Touraine, Chair of the Unitaid Executive Board and former French Minister of Health and Social Affairs, said, “Unitaid is fully engaged in the global response to COVID-19 and supports the call by the President of Costa Rica for voluntary pooling of intellectual property rights for medicines and diagnostics to promote the global fight against COVID-19. The Medicines Patent Pool, set up and funded by Unitaid a decade ago, has a proven track record and is immediately available to the WHO to begin this urgent work.”
The MPP decision follows the 27 March 2020 announcement by Unitaid to commit an initial US$30 million of investment to innovative treatment, diagnostics and respiratory triage tools as part of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the outbreak MPP has regularly updated its patent intelligence database, MedsPaL, with the status of candidate products. The database will continue to be updated as new patented candidates emerge.
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