Geneva – Azerbaijan and Belarus are the first two countries to receive deliveries of the HIV treatment dolutegravir (DTG) following the signing of the bespoke licence between the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and ViiV Healthcare in November 2020. The licence allows sales of generic dolutegravir in four upper-middle-income countries (UMICs)[1]. The two other countries in the licence, Kazakhstan and Malaysia, are planning deliveries for early 2022. This licence comes in addition to the adult and paediatric DTG licences signed in 2014 that covers the majority of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

“Generic manufacturers, governments and procurement agencies were quick to respond to the new licence and to the needs of those waiting for DTG in these countries,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director MPP. “In just three months after signing the sublicence agreements with MPP, the first deliveries have arrived, which is remarkable.”

“This important development will allow the Republics of Belarus and Azerbaijan to increase their citizens’ access to quality and evidence-based HIV treatment,” said Valeria Grishechkina, Fund Portfolio Manager, Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Global Fund. “It will significantly contribute to the sustainability of HIV programs that have been supported by the Global Fund in these two countries for many years.”

“People living with HIV in Azerbaijan are delighted to start the transition to DTG-based treatments. This is only made possible because of increased access and affordable prices,” said Ramil Goyushov Vahid oglu, Chairman of the West-Resource Public Union on Civil Society Development Support, Azerbaijan. “Our country, in partnership with UNDP, was able to buy DTG at more affordable prices thanks to the MPP licence. This also means that we can now expand our treatment coverage further.”

“Belarus has just received the first batch of generic DTG to treat 1,530 patients with HIV. Without a doubt, this is a great news. Many more patients will be able to be treated with the highly efficacious regimens with fewer to no side effects. We are looking forward to more and larger procurements and to increase affordability even further in order to provide all those in need with the treatments recommended by WHO,” said Anatoliy Leshanok, Deputy Chairman, People PLUS, Belarus. “This is only the beginning of our country’s transition to DTG. More will need to be done, including further price reductions. The HIV community stands ready to continue its collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Belarus, MPP, ViiV Healthcare and many other stakeholders to make it happen.”

As per the licence agreement, the price of the products will further decrease as the volumes procured by the countries rise to treat more people.

DTG is part of the WHO-recommended first-line regimen for HIV. It can be taken as a standalone pill combined with other antiretrovirals, including a fixed-dose combination of tenofovir, lamivudine and dolutegravir (TLD). Both formulations are available through the MPP-ViiV licence.

DTG regimens delivered by August 2021:

[1] In addition to the 13 UMICs and high-income countries (HICs) already included in another licence for DTG for adult use. Access to generic DTG through the MPP licence is also possible in at least an additional 33 UMICs and HICs where there are no blocking patents.