New Licensing of AIDS Drug May Start Patent Pool

The National Institution of Health became the first entity to license its patent on a new AIDS drug to an entity affiliated with the World Health Organization.

This move has given official American backing to the controversial idea of a “patent pool.”  Even though N.I.H. has the rights to the patent on the drug, darunavir, it does not mean generic-drug makers will be able to make it cheaply for poor countries.

This move does put increase pressure on drug makers to follow suit and allow licensing to patents.

Many companies have been reluctant because they may fear loosing profits and control over the drugs quality.  Bad drug manufacturing by a company that buys licensing could damage a company’s reputation because they are still affiliated with the drug.

“We ask that companies step up and collaborate so we can quickly see more affordable, easy-to-use pills getting into people’s mouths,” said Nelson Otwoma, head of Kenya’s Network of People Living with H.I.V./AIDS and a Unitaid board member.

The companies are smart in thinking of possible problems that could result from releasing the patents to generic drugs.  The drug companies would have to make a continuous effort to make sure the drugs remain a quality product if they did decide to allow licensing to patents.

Source: New York Times-National Institutes of Health Licensing Its Patent on a New Drug for AIDS-by: Donald G. McNeil Jr.

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