In 2010, with strong international backing, Unitaid founded the Medicines Patent Pool, the first voluntary licensing and patent pooling mechanism in public health. Initially focused on improving the HIV response, Unitaid’s Executive Board approved MPP’s entry into the fields of hepatitis C and tuberculosis in 2015. Unitaid is MPP’s sole funder for these activities.
Ten years ago, Unitaid created the Medicines Patent Pool, which allows pharmaceutical companies to license their rights on a voluntary basis. This has enabled the production of generics that treat tens of millions of people around the world. Thanks to MPP, for example, an annual treatment for HIV/AIDS costs less than US$70 in Africa, compared to the US$10,000 it costs in Europe.
Marisol Touraine, Chair of the Unitaid Executive Board
MPP is currently operating under its second five-year grant from Unitaid (2016-2020).
Unitaid is engaged in finding new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more affordably and more effectively. It takes game-changing ideas and turns them into practical solutions that can help accelerate the end of the three diseases. MPP is important in implementing Unitaid’s objectives by working with a range of organisations to license key medicines for generic manufacture.
Unitaid’s investments in MPP have yielded 10.9 times the value of its funding, from price reductions of generic products. Savings are projected to reach 2.3 billion by 2028 for HIV medicines alone.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) funded MPP’s feasibility study exploring the expansion of its mandate to include other patented priority essential medicines beyond HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
The SDC is now funding MPP to implement its mandate expansion into patented essential medicines on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List – and those with strong potential for future inclusion.
More on the SDC’s mission here.
Read press release.
The MPP model fits the Swiss approach to improving access because it promotes voluntary, collaborative solutions with the pharmaceutical industry for reducing prices of essential patented products, while ensuring the quality of those medicines, and protection of intellectual property rights. This is why we support MPP in the realisation of its expansion programme.
Alex Schulze, Co-Head of SDC’s Global Programme Health
The Wellcome Trust funded MPP in 2018-2019 to concentrate on the key elements integral to implementing MPP’s expanded mandate, including developing an implementation plan for MPP’s new five-year strategy and exploring MPP’s role in relation to antimicrobial resistance.
Read The Wellcome Trust’s statement on equitable access to healthcare interventions here.
Read press release.
Two billion people worldwide lack access to life-changing treatments – including medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools. Wellcome spends around £1 billion each year to support research and drive reform to improve health for people around the world. The full benefits of innovations to improve health can only be realised if they reach the people who need them, especially those living in low- and middle-income countries. Practices such as voluntary licensing, patent pooling and equitable pricing are fundamental to increasing access to prevention, treatment and care. We are pleased to support MPP in its efforts to speed access in low- and middle-income countries.
Alex Harris, Head of Global Policy at the Wellcome Trust