UNITAID-Backed Patent Pool Final; Drug Licence Talks Can Begin08/06/2010 by William New and Kaitlin Mara, Intellectual Property Watch 9 CommentsShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)IP-Watch and its Global Health Policy News are non-profit independent news services and depend on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.The final step in the establishment of a patent pool initiated by international drug-purchasing mechanism UNITAID was taken today, the group announced. “All the practical hurdles” have been surmounted, said UNITAID Senior Adviser on Intellectual Property and Medicines Ellen ‘t Hoen. Now there is something in place “that can start seriously negotiating with the drug companies” for licences she told Intellectual Property Watch.UNITAID is “a laboratory for new initiatives and new thinking, and today was an important step for all that,” ‘t Hoen added.This “should save millions of lives of people living with HIV across the developing world,” UNITAID Executive Board Chair Philippe Douste-Blazy said to Intellectual Property Watch. Only 40 percent of those in need of HIV treatment receive it, he said, but the patent pool will “allow generic manufacturers to produce affordable versions of existing HIV drugs and encourage research into new pediatric treatments in exchange for a fair royalty payment.”The UNITAID Board decided the organisation will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with a new Medicines Patent Pool Foundation and provide US$ 4.4 million for its first year of operations. UNITAID leverages price reductions for, and speeds research and development on, pharmaceuticals needed in the developing world. The voluntary patent pool is intended to lower prices and increase access for, to begin with, antiretroviral medicines.The Patent Pool Foundation, as an independent legal entity, will move out of the World Health Organization but will be in Geneva, continue to be a part of the UNITAID family and to work closely with the WHO, ‘t Hoen said. The foundation can continue say it was an initiative by UNITAID so long as it is not a standing part of the brand, she added. Figuring out how UNITAID and the patent pool would relate and refer to each other was one of the practical hurdles to overcome.Douste-Blazy said in a statement that formal negotiations with the patent holders can now begin. “We expect the Patent Pool Foundation to have its first licences within a year,” he said.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com.Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."UNITAID-Backed Patent Pool Final; Drug Licence Talks Can Begin" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.