Generic Makers Pledge Capacity to Ensure COVID-19 Treatments in Low-, Middle-Income Countries

December 14, 2020

Eighteen companies are working together to ensure equitable access to effective COVID-19 treatments for low- and middle-income countries

A group of generic drug manufacturers have pledged to work together to accelerate access to new treatments for low- and middle-income countries amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with non-profit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), according to a press release.

MPP works with generic manufacturers by negotiating patent license agreements with pharmaceutical companies that are placed in a pool in order to make them more easily accessible. Combining the capacity of generic industry players with patent agreements could help ensure COVID-19 treatments are available where needed.

According to MPP, the 18 companies who collectively joined the pledge have the capacity to deliver substantial amounts of conventional drugs and an increasing ability to produce more biologics, which include monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19.

Generic firms have previously worked with MPP to ensure access to crucial medications. For example, agreements negotiated by MPP and companies such as ViiV Healthcare, Bristol Myers Squibb, and AbbVie have allowed generic producers to provide over 15 billion doses of HIV and hepatitis C medications to low- and middle-income countries.

“Making sure there is enough supply capacity of potential game-changing treatments for COVID-19 is critical to ensure equitable access to low- and middle-income countries,” Philippe Duneton, executive director of Unitaid, the organization that founded MPP, said in a statement. “Using the proven MPP model to ensure access to effective and affordable health solutions not only makes sense in this COVID-19 emergency, but is the right thing to do.”

The first signees of the open pledge include:

  • Adcock Ingram
  • Arene
  • Aurobindo
  • Beximco
  • Celltrion
  • Desano
  • Emcure
  • Hetero
  • Langua Pharma
  • Laurus Labs
  • Lupin
  • Macleods
  • Mangalam
  • Micro Labs
  • Natco
  • Strides Shasun
  • Sun Pharma
  • Zydus Cadila

Charles Gore, executive director of MPP, hopes that the collaboration of generic makers will encourage firms now developing new or re-purposed therapies to negotiate agreements to allow rapid access for those in need.

“This unprecedented cooperation from companies that are typically competitors represents a breakthrough in our efforts to level the playing field for access to drugs that will be crucial to controlling and defeating the pandemic,” he said in the press release. “These are companies with an excellent track record of working with originators to ensure generic versions of their innovations meet high standards for quality–while answering the need for more affordable, accessible therapies.”

References

1. Leading Generic Drug Makers Unite to Pledge Capacity for Developing and Delivering Affordable COVID-19 Interventions as Pandemic Intensifies. News release. Medicines Patent Pool; November 11, 2020. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/leading-generic-drug-makers-unite-to-pledge-capacity-for-developing-and-delivering-affordable-covid-19-interventions-as-pandemic-intensifies-301171250.html

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