News and insights brought to you by the International Diabetes Federation

woman holding medicines in her hand

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to improve access to affordable and high-quality diabetes medicines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The agreement, which aims to improve the lives of many of the more than 460 million people currently living with diabetes and those at high risk, aligns the two organisations on several fronts. These include identifying diabetes medicines where MPP’s proven model of public health-oriented voluntary licensing could facilitate affordable access in LMICs, and understanding the needs and barriers to access in these countries.

“Diabetes is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects nearly half a billion people around the world, of whom 79% live in low- and middle-income countries,” said MPP’s Executive Director Charles Gore. “We look forward to working with IDF to facilitate access to patented life-saving diabetes medicines in LMICs.”

Regular and affordable access to essential diabetes medicines remains a major problem in many parts of the world. Nearly 100 years after its first use to treat a person with diabetes, insulin remains beyond the reach of many who need it to survive. But it is not only an issue of access to insulin, many other patented medicines that help prevent and treat diabetes and its complications are not getting into the hands of those who need them,” said IDF President, Professor Andrew Boulton. “MPP’s work holds great promise in overcoming some of the barriers to treatment. Our partnership has the potential to bring hope to millions of people with diabetes.”

Insulin and many other patented medicines that help prevent and treat diabetes and its complications are not getting into the hands of those who need them.

The MoU represents an important step in MPP’s work in the non-communicable disease area. In 2018, MPP conducted a feasibility study funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which included a series of illustrative case studies on access to essential medicines in the fields of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The study highlighted the expected public health value of providing generic access to patented products on WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines and those that have a strong potential for future inclusion. MPP’s remit now covers patented medicines in these new disease areas.

About the Medicines Patent Pool

The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. To date, MPP has signed agreements with ten patent holders for thirteen HIV antiretrovirals, one HIV technology platform, three hepatitis C direct-acting antivirals and a tuberculosis treatment. MPP was founded by Unitaid, which continues to be MPP’s main funder. MPP’s work on access to essential medicines outside HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis is also funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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