AIDS Treatment News logo      

February 12, 2011

Big Pharma shows willingness to pool HIV and Aids drug patents "Not long ago there were those who doubted whether the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool would manage to persuade any of the big pharmaceutical companies that it was a reasonable idea to allow their patents on Aids drugs to be 'pooled'. Unitaid, which works to improve access to medicines in developing countries and set it up, argued long and hard that the pool was necessary. It would allow generic manufacturers in countries like India and China to make legitimate cheap combinations of some of today's advanced HIV medicines. Cheap new combinations are going to be vital in the fight to keep millions alive in the developing world as HIV inevitably develops resistance to the basic drugs now available in poor countries.

"But today, two months after sending out letters inviting the major makers of Aids drugs to get involved, the patent pool announced that it is in negotiations or preparing to enter negotiations with F. Hoffman-La Roche, Gilead Sciences, Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, and ViiV Healthcare (a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer). The big surprise for the sceptics is Viiv."