On Wednesday, ViiV Healthcare—a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Shionogi—announced it would grant a voluntary license to the Medicines Patent Pool to enable low-cost supply of a key pediatric HIV medicine in the 118 countries in which 98.7% of all HIV-positive children reside. It also announced that promising new pediatric medicines in the ViiV Healthcare product pipeline will also be eligible to be licensed to the Medicines Patent Pool for the same 118 countries, once approved by regulatory agencies.
The Medicines Patent Pool is a UN-backed initiative that negotiates voluntary licenses based on a public health perspective and creates a pool of relevant patents to enable the manufacture and sale of generic medicines in developing countries. Voluntary licenses like the one announced this week play an important role in making affordable HIV medicines available in developing countries and stimulating innovation for those markets. That’s why the National Institutes of Health (NIH) became the first entity to share patents with the Medicines Patent Pool in 2010 and why President Obama joined other leaders of the G8 in encouraging other patent owners—public and private—to follow suit.
To learn more about the 3.4 million infants and children currently living with HIV and the full breadth of activities underway to promote public-private partnerships to address their unique needs, please visit the PEPFAR blog.
Robynn Sturm Steffen is Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director for Policy at OSTP