New licensing agreement for pediatric HIV medication a step forward but more must be done

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day.

UAEM welcomes the announcement of the licensing agreement between the Medicines Patent Pool and AbbVie. AbbVie has never before issued a voluntary license and historically has even taken measures that impede access to its medicines.  The deal will enable the sale of generic versions of pediatric lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) in countries where 98.9% of children living with HIV reside and will allow the drugs to be combined with others needed to effectively treat HIV. LPV/r is an important pediatric treatment, particularly for infants.

This agreement is good news for children who are still sorely neglected in the global fight against HIV with currently fewer than a quarter on treatment.

UAEM sees this as an important first step. However, AbbVie should strongly reconsider inclusion of middle-income countries left out of the agreement. Further, LPV/r is also needed for treatment of adults and older children and youth living with HIV. AbbVie should expand the license on similar terms and conditions to enable low-cost production and sale of LPV/r for adults, young people and older children throughout the developing world where the burden of HIV is highest.

UAEM welcomes this step forward from AbbVie and calls on it to go further to ensure access to AbbVie medicines for all. Still today too many people lack access to comprehensive HIV treatment, care and support. Equitable access to medication is a critical step.