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Media - published on 05 Aug 2019

How voluntary licensing agreements are transforming HIV care

Rebecca Root writes for Devex about the impact of voluntary licensing for the HIV medicine dolutegravir (DTG) in low-income countries. 

In 2014, ViiV Healthcare and the Medicines Patent Pool signed two voluntary licensing agreements allowing generic manufacturers to produce and sell low-cost versions of DTG in all low- and lower-middle income countries, and across sub-Saharan Africa.

The agreements aimed to make it more affordable for countries with some of the highest HIV burdens, including Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania.

In the article, Rebecca quotes Danny Edwards, Research Programme Manager at the Access to Medicine Foundation: ‘the rapid timeline for access to WHO-recommended DTG is unprecedented… We'd like to see more middle-income countries included within the terms of licences agreed.”

Rebecca also shares data from the 2018 Access to Medicine Index which found that a total of 18 compounds tackling HIV/AIDS are covered by voluntary licences issued by AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. Voluntary licences give generic manufacturers permission to develop and manufacture versions of on-patent products under transparent and access-friendly terms, which can support affordability. 


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View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index, including breakdowns of their product portfolios and R&D pipelines.