This week the media reported that the Brazilian federal court removed the patent protection for eculizumab, sold under the brand name Soliris by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Eculizumab is used in the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare and life-threatening blood disease. The product was approved by the US FDA for this indication in 2016. Brazil’s health care system spent $184.2 million to treat 442 patients with Soliris, an average of over $416,000 per patient. The patent office expects that more revocations may follow. This blog explains why this is. Continue reading ->
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Two years after the victory of Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan is feeling the effects of the DPP's position against the "One China principle." At the World Health Organization, China is allegedly successfully blocking Taiwan from participating in the annual World Health Assembly, and in a number of WHO technical meetings, officials say. Beyond the political dimension of the dissent between China and Taiwan, the situation may hurt the Taiwanese and global health security, Taiwanese officials said. Continue reading ->
Pharmaceutical R&D constantly leads to the generation of new intellectual property (IP), from clinical trial data to libraries of promising compounds. Not all IP assets generated by a company are used in their future R&D. When this happens, companies can choose instead to share them with other third-party researchers, under licensing agreements. The Access to Medicine Foundation has worked with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) to develop a framework for identifying which IP assets are most difficult for companies to share, yet most likely to speed up R&D of the medicines and vaccines needed by people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), write Clarke B. Cole and Katie Graef. Continue reading ->
Intellectual property rights, particularly patents, are considered by some as being a barrier in access to medicines despite being a stimulus for innovation. At a recent symposium co-organised by the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and World Intellectual Property Organization, speakers also talked about the role of science, governments, and universities in health innovation and access, and how to address challenges such as secondary patents. Continue reading ->
The price of hepatitis C medicine marked a turning point in the discussion on access to medicines, with developed countries suddenly confronted to prices they could not afford. This week, a symposium jointly organised by the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization explored the question of the pricing of medicines. A number of suggestions were made to alleviate the issue, such as ensuring wide use of generic medicines, encouraging competition, and alerting countries about the cost of medicine production so they negotiate better with pharmaceutical companies. Continue reading ->
Some products are too cheap, generic drug companies do not invest in them because they do not make enough money out of them. Others seem astronomically expensive, and are said to include the costs of all research, successes and failures alike. Panellists at a recent Swiss-organised expert event in Bern concurred that something must done about pricing, and explored some surprising ways to do it. Continue reading ->
The unexpected announcement in December of the resignation of the Medicines Patent Pool executive director left the Pool searching for its new head. Marie-Paule Kieny, former World Health Organization assistant director general, now chair of the MPP governance board stepped in to oversee the MPP while the search goes on. She sat down recently for an interview with Intellectual Property Watch to explain that MPP is conducting business as usual, and is keeping firm in its plan to release the results of a feasibility study analysing the possibility for MPP to extend its licensing activities to other essential medicines still under patent. Continue reading ->