There are 37.9 million people living with HIV worldwide, but only 24.5 million currently receive antiretroviral therapy. HIV paediatric care is improving, but still only one in two children living with the virus has access to treatment.
Affordable, effective HIV medicines are imperative, especially for those living in low- and middle-income countries where HIV is most prevalent. Medicines must also be available in the right formulations. Fixed-dose combinations increase adherence. Special treatments for children, appropriate for different ages and weights, improve care.
Since 2010, we have worked with leading HIV drug manufacturers, governments, international organisations and civil society to improve access to World Health Organization’s priority and new medicines for people living with HIV in developing countries.
Eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030. Reduce infections to less than one million and deaths to 500,000 in the same time period.
Promote access to direct-acting antivirals with the potential of working across all strains of the virus.
New direct-acting antivirals (DAA) that are effective across all major HCV strains can cure millions. Yet, approximately 93% of the people infected with HCV are not receiving treatment.
The Medicines Patent Pool works with generic partners to speed the development and distribution of these new treatments that can eliminate the virus through a short course of oral therapy in regions with a high HCV burden.
MPP signed licence agreements for three hepatitis C treatments: daclatasvir (DAC) in 2015, ravidasvir (RAV) in 2017 and glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P) in 2018.
MPP’s licences from Gilead Sciences, covering tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), benefit people living with HIV as well as people living with chronic hepatitis B, a disease affecting 257 million globally. The majority of people with hepatitis B live in low- and middle-income countries.
 World Health Organization, Progress report on access to hepatitis C treatment – key messages (last accessed on 9 March 2020)
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global pandemic affecting around 10 million people worldwide. In 2018, the disease caused 1.5 million deaths, and it is the leading killer of people living with HIV. Almost 90% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The World Health Organization’s post-2015 Global TB Strategy sets ambitious targets aimed at reducing TB deaths by 95% between 2015 and 2035, and to end TB. To meet these targets, faster acting, better therapies to treat TB are urgent, particularly for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
We work to improve access to new treatments for MDR-TB and drug-susceptible tuberculosis. We also facilitate the development of new regimens by licensing TB drugs that are still under development. In early 2017, MPP signed its first agreement with the Johns Hopkins University. This agreement was to facilitate the clinical development of sutezolid, a promising investigational treatment for tuberculosis. It was followed by a second agreement with Pfizer in October 2019 to access Pfizer’s preclinical, phase I and phase IIa clinical study data and results on sutezolid. The agreement’s aim was to further study, develop and make available this potential important component of new TB regimens.
The coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity for the world to act in solidarity and turn this crisis into an impetus to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
MPP’s Activities and Contributions
- On 31 March 2020, the Medicines Patent Pool temporarily expanded its mandate to include any health technology that could contribute to the global response to COVID-19.
- MPP’s experience in facilitating access through its voluntary licensing mechanism means that it could play a central role in applying its intellectual property and licensing expertise to patented products and technologies identified in the fight against COVID-19 to facilitate availability to those who need them most.
- In May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls MPP to join the C-TAP (COVID-19 Technology Access Pool) initiative, a global collaboration to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
- In September 2020, MPP becomes a part of the ACT-Accelerator Therapeutics Pillar led by Unitaid and WHO
- MPP is currently in discussions with a number of originator companies and research organisations for potential licences for COVID-19 health technologies, including with MSD for a potential licence for molnupiravir.
From the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, MPP realised that equitable access to treatments would be essential in the fight against this global threat. MPP issued a statement on 5 February 2020 saying that we stand ready to help in any way.
On 31 March 2020, MPP’s Board decided to temporarily expand MPP’s mandate to include any health technology that could contribute to the global response to COVID-19 and where licensing could facilitate innovation and accelerate access.
In November 2020, a united group 18 companies representing a large portion of the world’s generic pharmaceutical manufacturers pledged to work together via MPP (see press release), to accelerate access to hundreds of millions of doses of new COVID-19 interventions for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Today, this number has grown to 21 and the open pledge continues to call on other leading players in the generic medicines landscape to join the generic manufacturers in this united effort and sign this pledge so that we can work shoulder to shoulder to end this pandemic.
MPP understands that broad and affordable access to future health technologies that could be important for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 will be critical everywhere in the world, and that it is essential to think about the best approaches to make that possible collectively.
MPP is already gathering patent knowledge for products being used in clinical trials and making it available on its patents and licences database, MedsPaL. Added since March 2020: remdesivir, favipiravir, ruxolitinib, baricitinib, dapagliflozin, MK-4482 (formerly EIDD-2801), AT-527; and the following biologics: tocilizumab, sarilumab and siltuximab. The following medicines, already included in the database, have also been flagged as COVID-19 candidates: lopinavir/ritonavir, bevacizumab, darunavir/cobicistat, imatinib, rivaroxaban and sofosbuvir+daclatasvir.
This page will be updated as new information becomes available.
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Access Useful Resources
- The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page from WHO
- The COVID-19 page from Unitaid
- The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) page from WHO
- The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator page from WHO
- The COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- PATENTSCOPE COVID-19 INDEX (a new search facility to support COVID-19 innovation efforts) from WIPO
- WIPO Pearl COVID-19 Glossary
OTHER DISEASE AREAS
For too many, health is inaccessible, unaffordable or unavailable. 100 million people each year, worldwide, are driven into poverty because healthcare costs are too high. In most countries of the world, there is no universal health coverage or even individual access to new treatments.
In 2018, MPP conducted a feasibility study. This explored the expansion of our mandate to include other patented priority essential medicines beyond HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. The study was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It included a series of illustrative case studies on access to essential medicines in the fields of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries. Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. And more than three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
The study highlighted the expected public health value of providing generic access to patented products on the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML). It also showed the products that the WHO EML Committee recognize as having potential for future inclusion on the List.
The organisation’s remit now covers patented essential medicines included in the WHO EML and those with strong potential for future inclusion. The current focus is on small molecules, while the applicability of the model to biologics is under consideration.
In 2019, MPP published a prioritisation framework that outlines a precise methodology for assessing candidate medicines. These candidate medicines could play a major role in the expanded mandate.
> Peer-reviewed article on the WHO bulletin: Patent pooling to increase access to essential medicines