Medicines Patent Pool
The Medicines Patent Pool, established by UNITAID, strives to increase access to newer antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and to encourage the development of adapted formulations of these medicines. UNITAID’s approach is based on creating ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ patent pools. The goal of the upstream patent pool is to enable the creation of adult and pediatric fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) that are suitable for use in developing countries. The downstream pool aims to facilitate the generic manufacture of existing ARVs in order to lower their costs. Patent holders such as companies, researchers and universities can offer the intellectual property related to their inventions to the Medicines Patent Pool. Groups that wish to use this intellectual property to develop medicines can obtain a license from the Pool against the payment of royalties to produce the medicines for developing world use. Since there will no longer be a need to wait out the full patent term, the Pool could potentially help expedite the availability of new and lower priced medicines. It could also simplify the bureaucratic and legal processes involved in obtaining licenses. The pool will initially focus on HIV medicines but may eventually expand to other diseases.
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