Translational Biomedicine

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A Balanced Trade Context for HIV Patent Pool

Daniele Dionisio

Background: Reluctance of the multinational pharmaceutical companies to join the Medicines Patent Pool plan for HIV drugs (antiretrovirals-ARVs) might undermine its desirable objective of scaling up long-term, extended access to novel, affordable and appropriate ARV formulations in resource-limited settings. 

Methods: This paper makes an analysis of conflicting issues and calls for a trade context facilitating a reverse of multinational drug manufacturers’ reluctance to join patent pool. To this aim, partnerships between multinational companies are urged first to make cutting edge brand fixed-dose combination (FDC) ARVs promptly available, and secondly, to allow patent pool agreements to be negotiated immediately afterwards. This context rejects clauses that exclude middle-income countries from sharing in the patent pool. 

Expected results: The suggested trade context can help speed up the participation of originator pharmaceutical companies in the Medicines Patent Pool, while allowing them to maintain competitiveness, take advantage of incoming joint venture opportunities and circumvent the need for additional incentives. This context potentially tackles in an appropriate way the directions of evolution in emerging markets, while bringing benefits to resource-limited populations, multinational drug corporations and manufacturers from middle-income countries.

Conclusions: This study mixes analysis of health needs and of changing dimensions both in legislation and the pharmaceutical industry, with a political economy focus that considers the interests and capacities of key participants in global HIV treatment. So compounded, this study offers practical suggestions to stimulate the current debate