New study confirms MPP licences save money and lives
26 October 2021
Licences already negotiated by the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) will have saved the international community an estimated USD 3.5 billion and 170,000 lives by 2030. This is according to a new methodology for estimating the impact of MPP licences that was validated through a peer-reviewed research article published this week in The Lancet Public Health The economic and public health impact of intellectual property licensing of medicines for low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study provides detailed estimates of the economic and public health impact of two of MPP licences, as case studies, and the methodology has now been applied to a set of licences reporting on the overall impact of MPP’s licensing portfolio.
Access-oriented voluntary licensing of optimal treatments brings both economic and health benefits for people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), saving money and lives. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary in 2020, and with the financial support of its founder and main funder Unitaid, MPP decided to embark on an ambitious journey. Building on its historical methodology reporting on economic savings – now refined with more nuanced assumptions around the effects of MPP licences on drug uptake at the country level – and recognising the health benefits of accessing optimal treatments compared to potentially suboptimal alternatives, MPP expanded its impact assessment methodology to now also include new health impact indicators.
“After ten years of operation and more than 18 billion doses of treatment supplied, it is important to have additional metrics for assessing MPP’s contribution to universal health coverage through the lens of its economic and health impact,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP. “We are delighted to now have a robust impact assessment tool that not only provides evidence on the validity of our model and impact at country level, but also allows for projections which will greatly help target our efforts to where potential future impact may be greatest.”
Based on country-level modelling, and contrasting MPP’s contribution to scenarios where key medicines would not have been available through MPP licences (with drugs at potentially higher prices, leading to changes in uptake dynamics), MPP will now report on a yearly basis on three main metrics:
- Uptake of MPP-licensed products: amounts of medicines supplied by MPP licensees – in number of doses and people treated;
- Cost savings: actual financial savings made by the global health community through accessing MPP-licensed products; and
- Deaths averted: health benefits brought by increased access, through MPP licences, to products recommended by the World Health Organization.
The methodology will also allow, for other estimations, reporting on additional uptake, economic and health metrics, such as the commonly-used disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted.
“These impact figures tell us more than just the number of pills supplied,”said Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid. “They are key to understanding the true impact of Unitaid and MPP’s joint work on equitable access. By making life-saving health products more affordable and available, MPP’s licences improve the health of people affected by HIV, hepatitis C and other diseases while delivering strong value for money from available resources. Unitaid is proud to have supported MPP since its founding and we will continue to partner together on existing areas and new issues like COVID-19.”