Geneva, 5 March 2019 – The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) Governance Board has announced the appointment of Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão, Assistant Director-General for Drug Access, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals at the World Health Organization (WHO), as a non-voting participant.

This is a unique appointment and will play a key role in supporting the development of the MPP’s mandate expansion into patented essential medicines on the WHO’s Essential Medicines List (EML) and those with strong potential for future inclusion. The expansion follows a recommendation by the WHO in 2016 that the MPP develop beyond its core remit of HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis, to “all disease areas, and for all patented essential medicines on the WHO EML to be licensed into the Pool.”  The MPP launched a new five-year strategy in May 2018, following a feasibility study exploring an increased remit.

“This appointment not only reflects the close working relationship between the MPP and the WHO, but is also crucial for enabling the MPP to align with WHO’s global health priorities, as we look to focus on our mandate expansion and where we can have most impact in addressing public health needs. Dr Simão’s expertise will be crucial to our thinking in this area and many others,” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Chair of the Board.

Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão is from Brazil and has been the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Drug Access, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals since October 2017. Prior to that, she was Director of Community Support, Social Justice and Inclusion at UNAIDS. In addition to her work at the WHO and UNAIDS, she brings to the MPP’s Governance Board more than 30 years’ experience working in the Brazilian public health system and has played an active role in enhancing access and decentralising health services in the region. She was trained as a paediatrician in Brazil and holds an MSc degree in public health from University of London, United Kingdom.

Dr Simão said, “I am honoured to be invited to represent the WHO on the MPP’s Governance Board. Access to essential medicines is fundamental to the ability of everyone to achieve the highest attainable standard of health and core to the Sustainable Development Goal of promoting well-being for all at all ages. I look forward to contributing to the MPP’s development in this area.”

The appointment is effective from 1 January 2019.

Read more about the work of the MPP Governance Board here.

About the Medicines Patent Pool:

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, the MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. To date, the MPP has signed agreements with nine patent holders for thirteen HIV antiretrovirals, one HIV technology platform, three hepatitis C direct-acting antivirals and a tuberculosis treatment. The MPP was founded by Unitaid, which serves as sole funder for the MPP’s activities in HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. The MPP is now expanding its activities to cover Essential Medicines, which requires engagement with many new stakeholders, including potential funders.