Medicines Patent Pool Director Ellen ‘t Hoen To Leave Next Month

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Executive Director Ellen ‘t Hoen is departing the Medicines Patent Pool, the cutting edge UN spin-off project that works to lower prices on and stimulate new development of HIV medicines and other products through negotiating voluntary licence agreements. According to a release, ‘t Hoen has fulfilled the mission of guiding the organisation from a startup onto “firm footing” and has informed the Board that she will leave on 1 May.

“It was agreed, when becoming Executive Director, that she would leave once she had established the Pool on a firm footing,” Medicines Patent Pool Chair Charles Clift said in a statement. “She has done this magnificently and also created a dedicated and highly skilled team which will allow a seamless transition to her successor.”

‘t Hoen, who is highly regarded in the public health field, will remain an advisor to the Medicines Patent Pool. The search has already begun for the next director, and the job announcement is posted here.

Meanwhile, Medicines Patent Pool General Counsel Chan Park has agreed to serve as interim executive director. Chan will return to the general counsel post after the permanent position is filled, the release said.

The Board strongly praised the work of ‘t Hoen, who previously held a high-impact role at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders).

“Ellen has headed the initiative since 2009 when it began as an internal project at UNITAID,” Clift said. “From there she took it through to its establishment as an independent entity in 2010, and has developed the Pool to become an important player in the field of HIV treatment. Ellen took a germ of an idea and with her formidable skill, energy and commitment to public health, built it in a very short time into a strong and stable institution capable of delivering real improvements in access to medicines for people living with HIV today.”

“Thanks to her efforts,” he said, “the Pool enjoys broad support from a range of stakeholders, including leading pharmaceutical companies, global health institutions, governments, NGOs, and communities of people living with HIV. In December 2011 the UNITAID Board showed its confidence in the Pool by confirming its commitment to a further four years of funding.”

The Medicines Patent Pool’s mission is “to bring down the prices of HIV medicines and other products needed for the treatment and prevention of HIV, and facilitate the development and production of improved formulations, by providing access to intellectual property relating to these products.”

William New may be reached at

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  1. says

    Ellen ‘t Hoen will be a hard act to follow. She persuaded diverse governments to support the creation of the MPP, hired a very talented staff, and brought in the first licenses, the value of which will be likely be more fully appreciated down the road. She also created new standards for transparency of patent licensing, by publishing MPP license offers and company responses, and the full text of license agreements, while also providing the public opportunities to engage directly with the MPP staff. Her leadership will be missed.


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