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Call to Pharmaceutical Companies to Rapidly Join the Medicines Patent Pool

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Statement by Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of the UNITAID Executive Board

 

Echoing today's Civil Society letter to pharmaceutical companies, I strongly support the call for patent holder companies to collaborate with the Medicines Patent Pool. To avoid more senseless, preventable deaths, every player in the HIV treatment field must do their part to ensure that safe, effective and affordable HIV treatment is made available to everyone who needs it.

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A New Tool Gives Hope for Greatly Reducing AIDS in Children

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Mother-Baby Pack for HIV positive women aims to revolutionise
the prevention of mother to child transmission in several African countries

Aiming to strengthen the fight against HIV/AIDS in children, UNITAID has partnered with UNICEF to roll out a revolutionary new tool the Mother-Baby Pack that could help reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS from about 45% (which occurs without treatment) to 5% or less. The pack is already being rolled out in Kenya and will soon be available in Zambia and the Cameroon as part of its final field testing.

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Donors pledge to UNITAID

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Donors pledge to UNITAID in renewed effort to provide sustainable, predictable funding for access to treatment

Geneva, 12 November 2010 — UNITAID's main donor country, France, has pledged a yearly sum of USD 150 million (EUROS 110 million) for the next three years in a bid to strengthen the agency's capacity to continue to impact on medicines markets for better patient access. The Republic of Korea also made a firm pledge, committing USD 7 million to UNITAID for 2011. The Brazilian delegate advanced his government's intention of providing USD 11 million for 2011.
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Philippe Douste-Blazy re-elected as Chair of UNITAID

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PHILIPPE DOUSTE-BLAZY REELECTED AS CHAIR OF UNITAID - promises to promote innovative financing to world's leaders

Geneva, 11 November 2010 — The UNITAID Executive Board today unanimously re-elected Philippe Douste-Blazy as Chair of UNITAID for another two years. In his acceptance speech, Mr Douste-Blazy stated that he would double his efforts to ensure that globalisation work for the poor through UNITAID's specific focus on shaping markets for patient treatments in developing countries.

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The Medicines Patent Pool is Moving

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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.

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Innovative financing for the MDGs

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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.

Also of note, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and FAO have now joined the Leading Group.

The next Leading Group meeting will be held in Tokyo on 16-17 December 2010.