ViiV healthcare announces further initiatives to improve access to HIV medications for people living in the least developed countries
Today ViiV Healthcare announced a new series of initiatives to support people living with HIV/AIDS in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. To address the evolving treatment needs in these countries, people living with HIV/AIDS will now be able to access the whole portfolio of ViiV Healthcare antiretroviral medicines, produced by generic companies. ViiV Healthcare is expanding the number of countries that this relates to, to include all least developed countries, all low income countries and all of sub-Saharan Africa – that is 80% of all people currently living with HIV.
ViiV Healthcare is also making the groundbreaking step of making all patents available to generic manufacturers in these countries for all future pipeline developments, such as the novel integrase inhibitor jointly under development by Shionogi-ViiV Healthcare LLC.
'At present the numbers of people in the least developed countries moving onto second line therapy is very low compared to the developed world. However, as more people have access to treatment, there is an increased need for second and third line treatment options once initial treatment failure occurs.' said Dr Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare. 'This is why we have taken steps to make our entire portfolio and our pipeline available through our royalty-free voluntary licensing and not-for-profit initiatives.'
Voluntary licences are granted by patent holders to allow a generic company to manufacture and sell versions of their products. ViiV Healthcare will now make this available, royalty free, to generic companies for their entire current portfolio, including the newer innovative products as well as future pipeline developments.
ViiV Healthcare acknowledges the contribution of Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has licensed the rights to products containing lamivudine to ViiV Healthcare; and of Shionogi, co-developer of the integrase inhibitor with ViiV Healthcare; who have both agreed to waive their rights to royalty payments for these countries in order to improve access for these products.
Other ViiV Healthcare initiatives
As announced at the time of launch, ViiV Healthcare also has a number of other key initiatives to support further access to therapies in the areas worst hit by the epidemic. They are:
- The Not for Profit Price commitment for our ARV portfolio to government and international procurement agencies such as the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNICEF – also expanding to these 69 countries today.
- The £10 million seed fund to support access to care and treatment for infants and children and to generate evidence for paediatric fixed dose combinations and formulations
- The Positive Action for Children Fund (PACF) and Positive Action programmes which support a community response to the epidemic. £3.6 million of new grants were announced by the PACF Independent Fund Advisory Board in Kenya supporting twelve projects in eight countries on 30th June 2010.
'At ViiV Healthcare we wanted to go one step further in addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis and supporting access for people living with HIV in the worst affected countries. As a company totally focussed and dedicated to tackling this epidemic we are passionately committed to thinking and acting differently and taking new steps to expand access.
At the occasion of my last trip to Kibera I was pleased to see that many more drugs were currently available to patients. But a lot more remains to be done as more patients need or will soon need 2nd or 3rd generation products. This is why it is really important that we work as hard as we can to make those therapies available in these countries. It also showed me that the HIV agenda now needs to take into account not only doing what we can to make drugs available, but also supporting the whole health system, including medical professionals and the provision of health services such as diagnostic and laboratory tests,' commented Dr Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare.
About ViiV Healthcare
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK.L) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to deliver advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Our aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and then take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines as well as support communities affected by HIV.
GSK holds an 85 percent interest in the ViiV Healthcare and Pfizer holds 15 percent. GSK and Pfizer announced that they had agreed to form a new specialist HIV company on April 16, 2009. The transaction was completed on October 30, 2009. ViiV Healthcare launched on November 3, 2009.
For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.