Access to Medicine Index 2016 Published Today with High Marks for Companies that License to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP)
14 November 2016
Biennial ‘Report Card’ also notes that the MPP has been central driver of access-oriented licensing in the pharmaceutical industry
Geneva, 14 November 2016 – The Access to Medicine (ATM) Index issued its biennial report today giving high marks to companies that have negotiated licences for antiretrovirals and hepatitis C medicines through the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The report acknowledged that since the first company, Gilead, joined the MPP in 2012, the organisation has been “the central independent driver of access-oriented licensing in the pharmaceutical industry.”
The ATM index analyses the top twenty research companies on their approach to making medicines more accessible in low- and middle-income countries. Patents & Licensing is one of seven technical areas considered in the ranking. Top spots went to MPP partners Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co., while these companies as well as AbbVie were recognised for their “pro-access criteria in their agreed licences…negotiated by the MPP.”
“We welcome this year’s report and its focus on the high standards of MPP licences that seek to provide the broadest health benefits to people living in low- and middle- income countries,” said Greg Perry, Executive Director of the MPP. “We also congratulate our partners for their work to improve access to medicines policies in developing countries.”
The Index concludes that companies are “refining ways they organise efforts to increase access to medicine and most companies surveyed now have a detailed access-to-medicine strategy.” While recognising that there is much room for further improvement, the ATM Index highlights certain companies’ initiatives to apply a more access-oriented approach to intellectual property management. “Licensing can stimulate competition, reduce prices and bolster supply,” notes ATM index reviewers. “To have a significant impact on access, licences should be non-exclusive, transparent and include access-friendly terms.”
Finally, the report indicates that more HIV/AIDS producers are covered today by voluntary licences than was the case in 2014, and, for the first time, companies are turning to voluntary licensing to expand access to medicines in a second disease area: hepatitis C. The MPP has signed licences for 12 World Health Organization-recommended antiretrovirals and one antiviral hepatitis C treatment with patent holders AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, MSD (Merck & Co. in the US and Canada), the US National Institutes of Health and ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture among GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Shionogi.