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TWN Info Service on Health Issue (Mar20/06)
24 March 2020
Third World Network

Dear friends and colleagues,

Please find below a news report on AbbVie giving up its patents on combination of lopinavir/ritonavir (branded as Kaletra) which is crucial treatment for HIV/AIDs patients. The drug is also being studied for coronavirus treatment, although its efficacy for this purpose was recently called into question.

The US drugmaker will no longer enforce patents relating to Kaletra anywhere in the world for all formulations, according to the Medicines Patent Pool, a UN-backed non-governmental organisation.

According to the report, AbbVie gave notice of the change following Israel痴 move to issue a compulsory license last week for the drug combination痴 use against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus that is spreading worldwide.

For countries where this combination is patented, this means cheaper more affordable generic versions may now be imported or locally manufactured.

With regards
Sangeeta Shashikant
Third World Network

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https://www.ft.com/content/5a7a9658-6d1f-11ea-89df-41bea055720b

AbbVie drops patent rights for Kaletra antiviral treatment 

AbbVie is giving up its patents on a combination drug that is being studied as a coronavirus treatment, becoming the first major drugmaker to drop its rights to make money from a drug that might be used during the pandemic.

The US drugmaker will no longer enforce patents relating to Kaletra anywhere in the world for all formulations, according to the Medicines Patent Pool, a UN-backed non-governmental organisation.

The company gave notice of the change last week, according to a document seen by the Financial Times, after Israel moved to issue a compulsory licence for the drug combination痴 use against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus that is spreading worldwide.

Kaletra is a combination of two antivirals lopinavir and ritonavir and is usually used to treat HIV. But some doctors have turned to it for treating patients with coronavirus, and its efficacy is being studied in several clinical trials, including one by the World Health Organization.

Stat News, a trade publication, reported last week that the company would allow Israel to purchase generic versions of the drug. AbbVie declined to comment.

The company had already donated a supply to the Chinese health authorities in January.

What AbbVie has chosen to do 妬sn稚 terribly common, certainly not globally, said Ellen 奏 Hoen, director of Medicines Law & Policy, a non-governmental organisation. Kaletra has patent protection until at least 2026 in certain territories, according to MedsPaL, a database.

The pandemic has caused 12,000 deaths so far and infected nearly 300,000. There are no approved treatments.

A Chinese study of Kaletra, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, showed disappointing results, with no effect on the progression of the disease.

But for patients who started the drugs less than 12 days after their first symptoms, the mortality rate was 15 per cent, compared with 27 per cent over all, and the authors suggested it may work better if combined with other antiviral agents.

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop treatments and vaccines for the virus. So far, scientists have most hope for remdesivir, a drug developed by Gilead as a potential treatment for Ebola. Hospitals in the US are also stockpiling generic antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which have shown some positive impact in small studies.

鄭bbVie did the right thing, said Ms 奏 Hoen. 釘ut it foremost shows the power of the measure. Benefits will be immediate for people living with HIV, because generic supply is now possible everywhere in the world. The usefulness for Covid-19 still needs to be demonstrated and trials have started.

 


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