Geneva, 27 November 2019 – The Government of South Africa announces today the roll-out of HIV medicine dolutegravir (DTG). The World Health Organization recommends DTG-based treatment as the preferred first- and second-line regimen for people living with HIV.
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), through public health-oriented licensing agreements with ViiV Healthcare signed in 2014, has facilitated accelerated access to quality-assured, affordable versions of DTG and its combinations, including TLD, the fixed dose combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, lamivudine and DTG.
South Africa, benefiting from these access agreements, is the country with the highest number of people living with HIV, with 7.7 million people affected by the disease, and with the largest HIV treatment programme in the world with 4.8 million people already on antiretroviral treatment, largely through the public health sector.
“The Government of South Africa has been a leader in the HIV response and a valued partner of MPP for many years and the roll-out of DTG and TLD in-country is very good news for people living with HIV,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool. “We are proud to see that MPP’s licensing agreements as well as the work of many other stakeholders have led to accelerated access to this key HIV treatment in South Africa.”
As per today’s announcement, anyone in South Africa who has been newly diagnosed with HIV will be offered the new combination of TLD, as well as patients who are on TEE (tenofovir/emtricitabine/efavirenz) and patients who have been virally suppressed for at least six months.
About the MPP
The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. To date, MPP has signed agreements with ten patent holders for thirteen HIV antiretrovirals, one HIV technology platform, three hepatitis C direct-acting antivirals and a tuberculosis treatment. MPP was founded by Unitaid, which serves as sole funder for MPP’s activities in HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
More information about the Medicines Patent Pool, its public health mission and impact: https://medicinespatentpool.org/
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 Anyone above 35 kg and 10 years of age, including women or adolescent girls of childbearing potential making an informed choice of using TEE or TLD after understanding risks and benefits.
 According to a presentation by Yogan Pillay, Deputy Director-General, South African National Department of Health at the Bhekisisa Centre For Health Journalism on 26 November 2019. Watch webcast: https://bhekisisa.org/article/2019-11-26-watch-live-what-you-need-to-know-about-sas-new-hiv-drug/