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IP-Watch Summer Interns

IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

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    IPRs An Issue In Latest HIV Treatment Monitoring Test, Group Says

    Published on 10 December 2013 @ 7:18 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – Intellectual property rights represent a hurdle to lower-priced, high quality tests of HIV treatment monitoring in developing countries, public health group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) said today.

    The “gold standard” test for HIV treatment monitoring is “viral load testing,” according to MSF, a way to test the amount of HIV virus in the patient’s blood to make sure treatment is working and address any problems with adherence or treatment failure.

    But due in part to intellectual property royalties, prices of viral load tests – which are the norm in developed countries – are too high for many in developing countries to obtain, according to preliminary data from MSF. The HIV monitoring test most commonly used today is based on “CD4” cell response, which reveals problems much later than viral load.

    The World Health Organization has recommended the use of one viral load test once a year for each person on treatment.

    Viral load testing measures how many copies of the virus are in the blood, which indicates how well the virus is being suppressed by the antiretrovirals. For people doing well with their treatments, the test ideally shows an “undetectable” level of virus in the blood (below the lowest level of detection in the test).

    MSF is among the hundreds of health workers and others in Cape Town for the 7-11 December International Conference on AIDS And STIs In Africa (ICASA).

    MSF is working to scale up viral load testing in numerous countries, and found that prices for these tests currently ranges from about US$25 to $44, which is considered expensive in poor countries. The Clinton Health Access Initiative has negotiated a rate of under US$11 per test in Kenya. Intellectual property costs have been calculated to be between 19-63 percent of costs.

    A six-country survey by MSF showed that prices of roughly US$17-$29 per test, including implementation, could be obtained if countries had access to lowest price available. The group called for related IP to be licensed at a lower cost when sold to low and middle-income countries.

    MSF found that costs could go even lower based on analysis of costs of materials required to run each test. It showed estimated costs of manufacturing reagents and consumables – which account for some 75 percent of running a test – to be as low as US$1.60 – $4.50 for the three most commonly used tests in Africa. This does not include IP costs.

    Price was also found to be dependent on the volume of tests run, MSF said, so it is encouraging global health actors, such as the Global Fund for HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, PEPFAR and countries themselves, to negotiate lower viral load prices by pooling their procurement. It should also be ensured that viral load instruments are used at maximal capacity to lower price per test.

    MSF analysis showed IP costs as a percentage of the total viral load test costs to be:

    Lab-based tests:

    Abbott 63%
    Roche 29%
    BioMerieux 0%
    Cavidi 0%

    Point-of-care tests:
    Alere 24%
    Diagnostics for the Real World 26%
    Wave 80 Biosciences 19%
    Lumora 21%

    “Looking ahead to the development of new viral load tests, global health actors should support strategies, such as pooling of patents from third parties, with reasonable royalty payments, in order to enable the development of open diagnostic platforms and to ensure affordability,” MSF said in a brochure.

    “If we want to close the gap between rich and poor countries when it comes to making sure people’s HIV treatment is working, we need to see the price of viral load testing come down fast,” Sharonann Lynch, HIV Policy Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign, said in the press release. “The big agencies paying for global HIV treatment – the Global Fund and PEPFAR – need to wake up and see the potential they have to push viral load test prices down and into the reach of countries affected by the epidemic.”

    The MSF press release is available here.

    The MSF issue briefs are available here and here.

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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