E-DRUG: Hetero joins the Patent Pool; Licences Low-Cost HIV Medicines
HETERO JOINS PATENT POOL; SIGNING LICENCE TO PRODUCE LOW-COST HIV MEDICINES
WASHINGTON, DC, 25 JULY 2012: Hyderabad-based Hetero Labs has signed a licence
agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool that will allow it to produce key HIV
medicines for a number of developing countries.
The agreement will allow Hetero to produce four key medicines originally
developed by Gilead Sciences – emtricitabine, cobicistat, and elvitegravir, and
a combination of these medicines plus a fourth drug, tenofovir, in a single
pill known as the “Quad” – in 100-112 countries. These medicines were licensed
to the Pool by Gilead Sciences in July 2011.
"The terms and conditions that the Pool was able to negotiate represent an
improvement on previous licences and this will enable us to make affordable
drugs available faster to more people,” said Mr M. Srinivas Reddy of Hetero.
Hetero is a major supplier of HIV medicines in the developing world, with more
than 25 products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration/World Health
Organization in Geneva, and many in the pipeline. Hetero currently produces
antiretroviral treatment for over 2 million people living with HIV in more than
Hetero has also chosen to take advantage of a key flexibility in the Pool’s
agreement that enables it to sell tenofovir to a large number of countries
where it is not under patent.
Cobicistat, elvitegravir and the Quad are new drugs in development; being
licensed through the Pool should help speed their availability in developing
countries soon after they receive regulatory approval; this is a significant
step forward as there is often a several years-long delay for new medicines to
reach resource-limited markets.
“Hetero’s joining the Pool will help expand access to tenofovir in more
countries. We are also excited at the prospect of a leading HIV manufacturer
such as Hetero being able to launch promising new therapies soon after they are
approved in developed countries,” said Chan Park, Interim Executive Director of
the Medicines Patent Pool.
Hetero is the fourth generic company to take a licence from the Pool. The more
companies take licences from the Pool, the more robust will be generic
competition on HIV medicines, and the more affordable those medicines will
become for people who need them.
“UNITAID helped create the Pool because it believed in its potential to help
bring affordable, necessary medicines to market. Every new sub-licensee takes
the Pool one step closer to that goal,” said Denis Broun, Executive Director of
The Medicines Patent Pool is in negotiations with patent holders
Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, F. Hoffman La Roche, and ViiV
Healthcare [a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer], as well as with
several generic companies, to reach licence agreements that will help reduce
the prices on several additional key HIV medicines.
For further information on the Medicines Patent Pool, see its website at:
www.medicinespatentpool.org, or contact Communications Manager Kaitlin Mara at
email@example.com or +41 79 825 4786.
ABOUT THE MEDICINES PATENT POOL
The Medicines Patent Pool, founded with the support of UNITAID in July 2010, is
a mechanism seeking to lower the price of medicines for HIV in developing
countries by facilitating generic competition. Patents can drive up prices for
drugs; licences allow low-cost generic versions to be made even where patents
exist. The Pool negotiates with the patent holders of critically important HIV
medicines for licences; it then sub-licenses these to generic manufacturers,
freeing them up to develop, produce and sell affordable medicines in agreed
countries under strict quality assurance.
UNITAID is a global health initiative established to increase access to
quality-assured treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through
sustainable financing and market interventions. In less than five years since
its inception, UNITAID has committed US$ 800 million for AIDS treatment in 52
low- and middle-income countries. UNITAID developed the concept of the
Medicines Patent Pool as part of its market strategy, which is to stimulate
market competition, ramp up production and increase availability of newer and
better medicines at affordable prices. In December 2009, the UNITAID Executive
Board voted in principle to create the Medicines Patent Pool, which became a
separate legal entity in July 2010.