patent-poolAbacavir, an important pharmaceutical for the treatment of HIV-infected children, will become available for low-cost manufacturing through the Medicines Patent Pool, according to ViiV Healthcare, a specialist HIV company established four years ago by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. Another HIV pharmaceutical for treating children, dolutegravi, will also become available once regulatory approval is gained.

The Medicines Patent Pool was set up three years ago by UNITAID and the World Health Organisation, with the aim of encouraging patent owners to make their patents available to others in order to ensure the supply of low-cost medicines for a range of diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. A royalty may be charged, but the system enables generic manufacturers to produce pharmaceuticals without infringing patent rights.

At present there is a shortage of treatment options for children, who typically resort to using adult anti-retrovirals, having to cut the tablets into parts to reduce the dosage, which often leads to inaccuracy in the quantity administered. The Abacavir patent licence will be royalty-free and will cover 118 countries.

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