Medicines Patent Pool TB Deal Praised But Raises Concerns Of Affordability 25/01/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Medicines Patent Pool announced today that it has signed a license agreement with Johns Hopkins University for a candidate tuberculosis treatment. Although seen as a major step forward by public health groups, they said the agreement does not include guarantees that the treatment that could be brought to the market would be affordable for all. The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) was founded by UNITAID and remains fully funded by the United Nations organisation. The MPP facilitate the access to HIV, viral hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments in low-and middle-income countries through licensing agreements with those medicines manufacturers. The medicines can then be manufactured by generic pharmaceutical companies at a lower price. This agreement comes in an effort to fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, according to a Medicines Patent Pool press release. The treatment (sutezolid) is an antibiotic of the same class as the commercially available drug (linezolid) but which showed in early-stage testing more potentiality and less toxicity, MPP said. The drug is currently in clinical development, and despite positive early study results published in 2014, no further development of the treatment has been undertaken, they said. MPP’s Executive Director Greg Perry said in the release that “Faster acting, better therapies to treat TB are a particularly urgent global public health priority. With the exception of two new drugs that have come to market recently, the dearth of new alternatives to decades-old TB drugs contributes to our limited response to the epidemic.” According to the release, “Johns Hopkins University is granting the MPP an exclusive, royalty-free licence covering all countries that currently have patents issued or pending for a combination therapy comprising sutezolid and two additional compounds used to treat TB such as pretomanid, delamanid, bedaquiline, rifampicin and moxifloxacin.” “The patent for the base compound sutezolid expired in August 2014, but the patent for the use of sutezolid in combination therapy for TB—held jointly by Pfizer Inc and Johns Hopkins University—is valid until August 2029 in the countries in which it was filed,” it said. Public Health Groups See Major Step but Concerns on Safeguards A number of public health groups including Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) Access Campaign, Public Citizen, and the Global TB Community Advisory Board (TB CAB) in a press release today said it was a major step, but voiced concerns about what they see as a lack of safeguards. The agreement between the MPP and Johns Hopkins University marks the first open licence for a TB drug held by a US university, and the first open licence for a TB drug through the MPP, they underlined in the release. UAEM Executive Director Merith Basey commended Johns Hopkins “for shifting its stance to prioritize a public health-driven path for the development of this lifesaving drug, and we call on similar leading universities to leverage their significant role in ensuring future access and affordability of medicines such as this one for people worldwide.” While underlining that the agreement is a “major step forward,” the groups voiced concerns that the “deal contains no strong safeguards to ensure that any treatments developed will be made affordable for all the people who need them.” “This agreement has the potential to greatly improve current treatment options, but it can only be truly effective if the treatments created are made accessible to people living with TB everywhere,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, US manager & legal policy adviser at MSF’s Access Campaign, according to the release. “Public health groups are advocating for a single affordable global price for any treatment brought to market through this deal,” they said. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Medicines Patent Pool TB Deal Praised But Raises Concerns Of Affordability" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.