18 companies join the effort by Medicines Patent Pool to accelerate global access to effective COVID-19 treatments via a pool for voluntary product licences

Geneva – With COVID-19 infections surging worldwide, a united group of 18 companies representing a large portion of the world’s generic pharmaceutical manufacturers pledged to work together to accelerate access to hundreds of millions of doses of new interventions for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) via the non-profit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

“This unprecedented cooperation from companies that are typically competitors represents a breakthrough in our efforts to level the playing field for access to drugs that will be crucial to controlling and defeating this pandemic,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP. “These are companies with an excellent track record of working with originators to ensure generic versions of their innovations meet high standards for quality – while answering the need for more affordable, accessible therapies.”

Gore noted that collectively the 18 companies joining the pledge have the capacity to deliver substantial amounts of conventional drugs, technically known as “small molecules” in industry parlance, and an increasing ability to produce more molecules known as biologics. Biologics include monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19 that have shown promise as potential ways to either treat or prevent infections—but cost and manufacturing capacity pose substantial barriers to deploying them globally.

Gore said he hopes the pledge by such a respected group of generic industry players to produce large volumes of high-quality COVID-19 treatments will encourage firms now developing either new or re-purposed therapies to negotiate agreements allowing rapid access to those in need. This can be either through licensing of their intellectual property, or where licences are not needed, facilitating ways to scale up manufacturing capacity to meet the high demands.

“We welcome this pioneering collaboration and encourage others to join. Making sure there is enough supply capacity of potential game-changing treatments for COVID-19 is critical to ensure equitable access in low- and middle-income countries. Using the proven MPP model to ensure access to effective and affordable health solutions not only makes sense in this COVID-19 emergency but is the right thing to do,” said Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid.

The companies joining the effort are connected by their past work with MPP, an organisation created in 2010 by the global health initiative Unitaid to negotiate patent licence agreements with pharmaceutical companies that are placed in a pool to make them more easily accessible for generic manufacturers. Thus far, agreements negotiated by MPP with companies such as ViiV Healthcare, Bristol Myers Squibb and AbbVie have allowed generic producers to provide over 15 billion doses of HIV and hepatitis C medicines to low- and middle-income countries. Despite the logistical challenges of the pandemic, in the first six months of 2020 alone, MPP’s licensees have delivered three billion doses.

Combining the capacity of generic firms with patent agreements negotiated by MPP is increasingly viewed as an important addition to efforts to ensure COVID-19 interventions are available outside of the world’s wealthiest countries. For example, the European Union has called for “maximizing accessibility” to the fruits of COVID-19 R&D via initiatives that include “the pooling of technology to any UN-endorsed patent pool, such as the Medicines Patent Pool.” The G20 joint Finance and Health Ministers’ statement in September, also cited voluntary licensing of intellectual property as one of the key tools in the COVID-19 response.

Several signatories have stepped forward to underscore the importance of the pledge:

“Working with MPP over the years has enabled Adcock Ingram to provide access to live saving medication to those in need in South Africa and its surrounds.”
“Associating with MPP has put us at the forefront of improving the accessibility and affordability of HIV medication. Our values and vision are closely aligned and they have continuously inspired us to do more for this cause.” – Arene Life Sciences
“We are committed to the cause of providing increased access to affordable high quality life saving medicines in low- and middle-income countries in several therapy areas including HIV. We have worked successfully with MPP over the years to this effect and will continue our fight through these valuable partnerships.” – Aurobindo
“MPP is committed to fighting health disparity through its unique strategy and we are proud to be a part of this network with the common goal of ensuring access to medicines for all.” – Beximco
Medicines Patent Pool has led
Paths of pharmaceutical products into
People’s lives.” – Celltrion
“The capacity and capability of global leading generics pharmaceutical manufacturers have been better utilized with MPP’s coordination to make the life-saving HIV and hepatitis C medicines available and affordable in LMICs. We Desano feel proud to be part of this.”
“We are privileged to have partnered with MPP for the past decade which has led to creating a larger access to life-saving medicines across the globe; not only with HIV but for other therapies as well.” – Hetero
“MPP is spearheading an initiative that is so imperative for the developing countries around the world to have access to affordable, lifesaving medicines. We acknowledge the sincere efforts of Medicines Patent Pool to work alongside generic manufacturers to accelerate the development of affordable medications to LMICs.” – Lupin
“Our company mission is contributing to the healthcare by supporting the improvement of medicine availability and affordability. It is great to work with MPP and Licensors to meet the urgent need of patients by providing more affordable medicines.” – Langhua Pharma
“Access is at the core of all work undertaken by the team at MPP. This has helped in close cooperation between pharma and generics and has ensured that newer and safer medicines reach people across LMICs.” – Macleods
“We at Mangalam Drugs & Organics Ltd. take great pride in being associated with MPP that is striving relentlessly to provide rapid access to effective healthcare across the globe. Having partnered with this organisation has enabled us to envision beyond the ordinary. We look forward to continued alliance with them and to be able to build on each other’s strengths for sustainable benefits to those who have limited reach.”
“At Micro Labs we duly appreciate the initiative taken by the team at MPP. MPP’s efforts rightly opportune generic players to leverage their capabilities in reaching out to more patient population with quality and affordable medicines.”
“We believe the collaboration with MPP on expanding treatment access to affordable Hepatitis drugs has made a huge impact in many countries. It has been particularly satisfying to be part of the solution to tackle Hepatitis pandemic.” – Natco
“Our Stridian organizational values of Integrity, Collaboration and Efficiency resonate very well with those of the Medicines Patent Pool. Over the years, our partnership has promoted inclusivity, and worked towards making life-saving drugs affordable and accessible to large parts of the lower and middle income countries, thereby making a significant difference to public health.” – Strides Pharma
“The partnership with MPP & its licensing model has enabled supply of critical life-saving medicines to patients in low- & middle-income countries around the world.” – Sun Pharma
“Our association with MPP has strengthened our resolve in combating the scourge of hepatitis C. The inclusion of Daclatasvir to our anti-hep C portfolio has helped us extend Daclatasvir as a highly affordable treatment option to thousands of patients, suffering from hepatitis C, thereby improving both, their access to treatment and clinical outcomes.” – Zydus Cadila

Full list of first signatories of the open pledge:

  1. Adcock Ingram
  2. Arene
  3. Aurobindo
  4. Beximco
  5. Celltrion
  6. Desano
  7. Emcure
  8. Hetero
  9. Langhua Pharma
  10. Laurus Labs
  11. Lupin
  12. Macleods
  13. Mangalam
  14. Micro Labs
  15. Natco
  16. Strides Pharma
  17. Sun Pharma
  18. Zydus Cadila



Gelise McCullough
Head of Communications | Medicines Patent Pool
+41 79 685 64 36