First-of-its-kind license agreement forges path to expand antibiotic access in low- and middle-income countries

A major change has been underway over the past decade, making certain medicines more accessible for people who need them most.

Drug development companies have become increasingly open to voluntary license agreements—that is, agreements that make it possible to manufacture and commercialize select medicines for critical public health needs, especially in low-income countries. The launch of the Medicines Patent Pool significantly accelerated voluntary licensing and improved access conditions, for example by expanding the geographic scope of many licenses and requiring quality assurance for licensed products. Either bilaterally or through the MPP, voluntary license agreements have been signed for medicines to treat HIV, tuberculosis and COVID-19.

However, apart from medicines for tuberculosis, such an agreement has never been signed for an antibiotic—until now.

Read the article on using voluntary licensing to expand antibiotic access by GARDP’s Jennifer Cohn, Shionogi Inc.’s Gareth Morgan, and CHAI’s David Ripin.

Published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on the occasion of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November).