Thursday 15 April 2010

UNITAID approves patent pool budget for 2010

There's a good little piece yesterday by Kaitlin Mara on Intellectual Property Watch: "UNITAID Patent Pool Budget Approved; Implementation To Begin". Kaitlin explains how the board members of international drug purchasing mechanism UNITAID has approved a budget of around US$3.9 m for this year for its pioneering patent pool initiative.

The patent pool is intended to facilitate the creation of lower-cost generic drugs in developing countries, and to facilitate innovation in needed areas, such as AIDS medicines suitable for children. It does this by creating a “one-stop shop” for the licensing of needed technology, which reduces the costs of searching for patent holders and drawing up agreements with several different owners.

It is not immediately apparent what the long-term impact of the pool will be upon the proprietary and generic sectors of the pharma industry. Clearly the reduction of transaction costs should benefit everyone. UNITAID's mission is
"to contribute to scaling up access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, primarily for people in low-income countries, by leveraging price reductions for quality diagnostics and medicines and accelerating the pace at which these are made available".

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