As of November 1, 2010, the Medicines Patent Pool has transitioned out of UNITAID, and is functioning as a separate legal entity. UNITAID continues to support the Medicines Patent Pool and is funding its operations under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding. The Pool is an integral part of UNITAID's market impact strategy, which aims to promote the availability of affordable and adapted medicines for people in developing countries.
With close to US$ 50 million invested in the country since 2007, Kenya is the third largest recipient worldwide of UNITAID funding. That funding has provided, among other things, child-friendly medicines to more than half of Kenyan children living with AIDS (57%) and about 135 000 TB treatments to Kenyan patients, including children.
The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development held a high Level Side Event at the MDG Summit in New York - "Innovative Financing for the MDG's" - on 21 September.
Among the key speakers were the Queen of Jordan, Foreign Ministers of Japan, France, Spain, Minister for Development Cooperation of Norway and Belgium, Philippe Douste-Blazy (Chair of UNITAID and UN Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development), the European Commissioner for Development, the OECD Secretary General.
The UNITAID Executive Secretary, Jorge Bermudez, presented the case for innovative financing by highlighting UNITAID's results in its four years of existence at a round table on innovative financing for health, which also featured the heads of GAVI and the Global Fund.
Philippe Douste-Blazy expressed the need for a UN resolution on innovative financing for development, so as to rally higher political support and generate a step-change in thinking.
A common theme that emerged from presentations was the focus not just on innovative ways of raising additional funds but also on innovative spending. UNITAID, in particular, has a good track record in this as it seeks to shape the health commodities market for sustainable access in developing countries, and has created the first ever medicines patent pool.
The next Leading Group meeting will be held in Tokyo on 16-17 December 2010.
Following on a proposal by the UN Secretary-General, the General Assembly will convene a summit on 20-22 September on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the primary objective to accelerate progress towards the MDGs by 2015.
The MDGs were originally adopted in 2000 and incorporate key goals and targets of the broader development agenda, agreed upon by world leaders and other stakeholders at different UN Summits and Conferences.
Three of the MDGs are health-related - Goal 4 (children's health), Goal 5 (women's health) and Goal 6 (halt AIDS, TB and other infectious diseases). UNITAID works to contribute to all three of these goals by providing quality treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, with particular attention to women and children. In addition, UNITAID contributes to Goal 8 (global partnerships) by engaging the pharmaceutical industry to collaborate to increase access to medicines.
UNITAID also represents one of the first innovative financing mechanisms set up to help achieve the MDGs by providing additional funding for health and by spending those funds in innovative, cost-effective ways.
The Chair of UNITAID, Philippe Douste-Blazy, is also Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Innovative Financing for Development.
Talking Points Jorge Bermudez, UNITAID
The UNITAID Executive Board adopted a resolution on December 15 2009 that gave the go ahead for the establishment of a legal entity to house the Medicines Patent Pool. UNITAID has committed to provide funds of up to US$ 4 million in 2010 for the start up, subject to the approval of the budget.
On 5 February 2010, the UNITAID Executive Board met again to discuss outstanding matters, including an analysis, carried out by the Secretariat, of the appropriate legal structure for the Pool and its relationship with UNITAID. The resolution following this meeting can be found here.
UNITAID is now working on the necessary legal documents and action steps for the establishment of the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation.
The UNITAID Medicines Patent Pool Initiative has been met with a great degree of interest at the International AIDS Conference this week.
The medicines patent pool will be managed by the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation (MPPF), which will soon open for business and will be in a position to begin formal negotiations with the patent holders. The Medicines Patent Pool Foundation will initially focus exclusively on antiretrovirals (ARVs).
Discussions with a number of key ARV patent holders over the past few months have been encouraging. Some patent holders have expressed considerable interest in the initiative, and have been commended for that, including in the recently published Access to Medicines Index. However, contrary to some of this weeks media reports, no licensing agreements have been reached with any patent holders; recent and current conversations with the patent holders have been preliminary to the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation becoming fully operational.
- The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development 2010 Report to the Taskforce
- WHO Note on the potential stock-out of paediatric ddI
- Additional contribution from France for 2009
- UNITAID @ Solidays, 25-26-27 June 2010
- MORE COUNTRIES SHOULD APPLY SOLIDARITY AIR LEVY TO COMPLEMENT FUNDING FOR GLOBAL HEALTH