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[afro-nets] The HIV Treatment Timebomb

  • From: "Claudio Schuftan" <cschuftan@phmovement.org>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 07:59:34 +0700

Cross posted from: "[health-vn discussion group]" <health-vn@anu.edu.au>
From: AIDS ASIA<AIDS_ASIA@yahoogroups.com>
The Treatment Timebomb (excerpt)

Political activism needed for patent pools for HIV drugs.

Editorial. The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9686, Page 266, 25 July 2009.

"Political activism is needed once more to ensure that the next generation of drugs is available to the world's poorest", according to a report from the UK All-Parliamentary Group on AIDS published last week. The Treatment Timebomb describes itself as an important wake-up call to those who think that successful delivery on the promise of universal access to HIV treatment can be achieved in the long term by just doing more of the same.

One of the report's recommendations, supported by International Development Minister Mike Foster, is the implementation of a patent pool for HIV drugs. Pharmaceutical companies insist that patents are an important incentive for research and development into HIV medicines but, perversely, patents can also hinder such research.

Patent pools could create a win-win situation. Under this system, patent holders would still be rewarded—the originator drug company would receive a proportion of the royalties—while enabling the generic production of newer HIV drugs and the development of new fixed-dose combinations.

The concept of patent pools is not new. The Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG)—established at the World Health Assembly in 2006 to find innovative solutions to fund research and development in neglected diseases—has repeatedly called for a patent pool which would be managed by UNITAID.

Drug companies have dismissed these calls preferring the status quo, so it is unsurprising that the UK drug firm GlaxoSmithKline has stated that it does not see the need for the patent pool proposed by the All-Parliamentary Group.

The Treatment Timebomb

Report of the Inquiry of The All Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS into long-term access to HIV medicines in the developing world


Vern Weitzel