GENEVA / HIV PREVENTION MEDICINES DEAL

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29-Jul-2022 00:02:02
A landmark agreement has been reached allowing for the production of low-cost, injectable HIV medicines in some 90 developing countries where more the majority of infections occur, UNITAID said on Friday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / HIV PREVENTION MEDICINES DEAL
TRT: 2:05
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 29 JULY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Med shot, UN Geneva flag alley
2. Wide shot, press room with panel of speakers, journalists, TV camera on tripod
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, UNITAID:
“The Medicines Patent Pool, a structure created and largely funded by UNITAID, has reached a voluntary licensing agreement for patents relating to cabotegravir long-acting, an injectable form of HIV prevention, or PrEP, to generic formulations of the product in least-developed, low-income, lower-middle income and sub-Saharan African countries.”
4. Med shot, lateral, podium speakers
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, UNITAID:
“In the 90 countries that we are talking about, 80 countries are royalty-free, meaning that ViiV (ViiV Healthcare) don’t ask any royalty on the product and for 10 of those countries ViiV is asking for a smaller-than-usual royalty.”
6. Wide shot, journalists, TV camera, light panel
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, UNITAID:
“This product will not be there for everybody, that’s first for people who are there the most at risk. That’s a product that’s available in the US, and the price of that product for one year in the US for example is approximately 20,000 US dollars, and that’s a lot of money; that’s why that product cannot be used in low and middle-income countries.”
8. Med shot, journalists seated at tables, TV camera
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, UNITAID:
“This licence will actually give the option to three different generic manufacturers to develop the product on a generic base. That means that the price that those companies will have we don’t know yet, but that will not only be one company, that will be three different companies and that’s done in a way that we’re sure one, that it’s easy for logistics, two, that ensuring availability, and three, of course, that it will help to bring the cost of the generic version down.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. Wide shot, journalists, TV camera and light panel
12. Med shot, journalist
13. Med shot, journalists, side shot

STORYLINE:

A landmark agreement has been reached allowing for the production of low-cost, injectable HIV medicines in some 90 developing countries where more the majority of infections occur, UNITAID said on Friday.

Selected manufacturers will be able to develop, manufacture and supply lower-cost generic versions of long-acting Cabotegravir (CAB-LA), in line with a deal reached with pharmaceutical firm ViiV Healthcare (ViiV).

“The Medicines Patent Pool, a structure created and largely funded by UNITAID, has reached a voluntary licensing agreement for patents relating to Cabotegravir long-acting, an injectable form of HIV prevention, or PrEP, to generic formulations of the product in least-developed, low-income, lower-middle income and sub-Saharan African countries,” said UNITAID spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel.

The deal is significant because Cabotegravir injections are only needed once every few months. Increasing its supply at a cost that is affordable to low-income countries could help to overcome the stigma that’s associated with taking daily HIV pills - and the burden of having to remember to take them.

“In the 90 countries that we are talking about, 80 countries are royalty-free, meaning that ViiV won’t ask for any royalty on the product and for 10 of those countries, ViiV is asking for a smaller-than-usual royalty,” Mr. Verhoosel explained.

The agreement comes after UNITAID-led discussions began in May this year with ViiV, a subsidiary of pharma giant GlaxoSmithkline. It is only seven months since Cabotegravir LA received regulatory approval.

But the process of selecting the companies that will develop, manufacture and supply generic versions of Cabotegravir will take much longer.

“This product will not be there for everybody, that’s first for people who are there the most at risk,” said Mr. Verhoosel, who noted that the cost of the medicine in the US was around $20,000. “That’s a lot of money; that’s why that product cannot be used in low and middle-income countries.”

According to UNITAID, the deal offers the possibility of making the injectable prophylactic medicine available in 90 countries where more than 70 per cent of all new HIV infections occurred in 2020.

Up to three drug manufacturers will be licensed to develop the product on a generic basis to avoid supply and distribution issues. “That’s done in a way that we’re sure (that) one, it’s easy for logistics, two…availability, and three, of course, that it will help to bring the cost of the generic version down”, said Mr. Verhoosel.
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