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January 29, 2011

Johnson & Johnson/Tibotec AIDS Drug Licenses Exclude Too Many Patients

Doctors Without Borders: "Licenses just agreed between three generic manufacturers and pharmaceutical company Tibotec, owned by Johnson & Johnson, will keep a promising new AIDS medicine out of the hands of many patients across the developing world, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. The licenses exclude many developing countries where Johnson & Johnson/Tibotec will likely charge high prices. Other precise restrictions introduced by the agreement must be scrutinized carefully.

"Tibotec has licensed production of the antiretroviral medicine rilpivirine to one South African and two Indian manufacturers, but has limited the geographic scope of the licenses such that all of Latin America, Central Asia and most Caribbean and South East Asian countries will not be able to receive generic versions of the medicine. Given the restrictive licensing, these countries may not be able to import generic versions from India even if they override patents in their countries through compulsory licenses."