GENEVA, November 17, 2014 —The Medicines Patent Pool welcomes the release of this year’s Access to Medicine index and its focus on pro-access voluntary licensing as key to improving public health outcomes in developing countries. After assessing a wide range of voluntary licences for its patent and licensing category, ATM reviewers confirm MPP’s agreements “provide the highest level of flexibility and broadest geographical scope,” and that licensing terms are “transparent” and “pro-access.”

Moreover, companies with the top scores in this category, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline (through its joint venture, ViiV Healthcare) and Bristol-Myers Squibb have all signed HIV licensing agreements with the MPP for key WHO-recommended HIV medicines.

“MPP appreciates the ATM’s acknowledgment of the high standards demonstrated in our licences,” stated Greg Perry, Executive Director of the MPP.  “As the ATM notes, 93% of all licences today are for HIV medicines.  Our partners should be congratulated for forward-thinking access strategies, especially for granting licences for new treatments that have vast implications for countries hard hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

Through their agreements, MPP and patent holders seek to provide benefits to the highest number of developing countries where the majority of people living with HIV reside.  The ATM index specifically highlights the MPP’s role in facilitating access to HIV medicines for middle-income countries through “ground breaking” approaches such as tiered royalties and market segmentation. All licences are publicly available and disclose lists of patents for the licensed medicines, not always the case for company-to-company bilateral licensing arrangements.

Gilead Sciences, MPP’s first private sector partner, has licensed five antiretrovirals to the MPP, including tenofovir alafenamide, a promising medicine currently in phase III studies. A licence for ViiV Healthcare’s newest ARV, dolutegravir, will speed generic manufacture of a recently registered HIV therapy.  Finally, MPP’s licence with BMS for atazanavir seeks to increase access to an important second-line HIV medicine, a crucial option for the million people estimated to need second-line treatment by 2016.

Released today, the ATM index is the premier independent source for measuring pharmaceutical company performance in broadening access to medicines in low and middle-income countries.  The index analyses company initiatives in seven areas including research and development, manufacturing and pricing, public policy, and patents and licensing