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Medicines Patent Pool to include hep C and TB drugs

Published on 09/11/15 at 10:16am

The Medicines Patent Pool has expanded to include a mandate to make treatments for hepatitis C and tuberculosis affordable and accessible to low-and middle-income countries.  

The global health initiative, run by the UNITAID in 2010, has been providing access to generic and low-cost HIV treatments, through a public-health driven business model in partnership with six patent holders and 14 manufacturers. It has distributed almost 3 billion tablets of low-cost medicines.

The UNITAID executive board has approved the MPP’s proposals to improve access to both life-saving direct acting antivirals (DAAs) to treat hepatitis C and new and re-purposed medicines for tuberculosis.

Building on its HIV model, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) will seek to license for generic manufacture new and pipeline hepatitis C medicines, and to ensure access to new treatments for multidrug-resistant and drug-susceptible TB.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, chair of the executive board at UNITAID says: "I greatly welcome the broadening of the Medicines Patent Pool's mandate to encompass hepatitis C and tuberculosis, giving MPP a vital opportunity to help secure lower prices for medicines to fight these two lethal diseases."

While Greg Perry, MPP’s executive director says: “MPP believes that its unique approach to negotiating licences for HIV is working and we look forward to applying our model to tackling access and innovation challenges in HCV and TB.”           

Deaths from TB now outnumber those from HIV and hepatitis C affecting as many as 150 million people worldwide. 

Mel Spigelman, president and chief executive of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, the world’s leading product development partnership for TB medicines, says: “The TB Alliance welcomes the MPP’s entry into the TB field. We are looking forward to working with the MPP on a range of projects, from access-oriented licensing for new drugs and regimens, to the development of appropriate formulations for children.” 

And Raquel Peck, chief executive of the World Hepatitis Alliance, an umbrella organisation representing 400 million patients says: “The recent approval of new treatments with greater efficacy and low side effects represents incredible opportunities to move closer to eradication, but only if these drugs are affordable and accessible. We have urged for the Medicines Patent Pool’s participation in the HCV response and are thrilled with the UNITAID board decision.” 

Yasmita Kumar

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