Innovative patent agreement shows success of patient advocacy

23 Nov 2015 Bridie Taylor

The World Hepatitis Alliance congratulates the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and Bristol – Myers Squibb (BMS) for recognising the global hepatitis communities’ call for essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) at affordable prices, through their recent hepatitis C patent agreement.

Following a six-month dialogue with patient groups, civil society and other stakeholders, the MPP has issued its first licence for a hepatitis C medicine, signing an agreement with BMS for daclatasvir. The royalty-free licence will enable generic manufacture of the drug for sale in 112 LMICs, where two-thirds of people living with hepatitis C reside.

“The licence comes shortly after the MPP announced its mandate expansion into the area of hepatitis C and on the heels of a six-month dialogue with patient groups, civil society and other stakeholders on best approaches to improving access to new curative HCV solutions,” said Greg Perry, Executive Director of the MPP. “Thus, we believe the licence takes into consideration the concerns of patient advocates who have been campaigning for some time for new life-saving innovations such as daclatasvir to reach more people quickly.”

One of the key goals of the World Hepatitis Alliance is to ensure the best medicines are available as quickly as possible at a price that is affordable for all. The agreement signals an important move into greater access to treatment across the globe and shows how powerful patient advocacy can be.

“Going forward, we urge patient advocates, organisations and civil society groups to join us to call on the MPP and other pharmaceutical companies to include more hepatitis C medicines in the patent pool, as well as further expanding into hepatitis B, in order to eliminate one of the world’s leading health concerns.” said Raquel Peck, CEO of World Hepatitis Alliance.

This announcement follows the public launch of our access to treatment open letter, in which over 120 organisations from 55 countries came together to demand immediate action to vastly improve access to life-saving hepatitis drugs. 

The MPP’s full announcement can be read here.

View the list of 112 countries for which the agreement provides a royalty-free license for daclatasvir here.