Medicines Patent Pool Model May Expand Beyond HIV Medications

What is the public health goal we want to achieve? We want affordable access to the best possible drugs.

-- Esteban Burrone

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is looking to expand beyond HIV drugs to medications for other major diseases, Esteban Burrone, M.Sc., M.B.A., MMP head of policy, said in an interview with IFARA at AIDS 2018. MPP negotiates licenses with the manufacturers of new drugs that allow other companies to produce generic versions for distribution in low- and middle-income countries. This ensures the availability of multiple suppliers who bid on contracts with the World Health Organization (WHO); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; or national governments. The ensuing competition lowers prices to more affordable levels for developing countries, Burrone explained.

Because this process, as well as production and distribution, take time, MPP needs to look beyond currently available medications to new drugs in the pipeline, even if it is unclear what place these may have in the treatment arena. The lower pricing achieved by MPP enables bodies that issue treatment guidelines to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of new medications without having to consider cost when recommending treatment regimens.

MPP regularly consults with the community to understand where it should be focusing its resources. While it is "at heart an HIV organization," MPP is adapting its model to other drugs on the WHO's Essential Medicines List, Burrone said. Initially, medications for conditions that are more common among people living with HIV will be prioritized. Another focus is on injectable antiretrovirals, which will require additional investment to enable generic manufacturers to produce this new drug delivery method.

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