Improving Children’s Access to Lifesaving HIV Medications

By Johanna Harvey | April 1, 2014

A new HIV medication licensing agreement will increase access to a promising new antiretroviral (ARV) medication in countries with high HIV burdens.

James Pursey/DRC

Today, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and ViiV Healthcare announced a new HIV medication licensing agreement that will increase access to dolutegravir (DTG), a promising new antiretroviral (ARV) medication. This agreement will allow generic manufacturers to scale up production of low-cost versions of DTG for countries with high HIV burdens. It will also ensure adults and children worldwide can access the most advanced HIV treatment regimens available.

At the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) we are very excited about what this new agreement will mean for the millions of HIV-positive children living in resource-limited settings. Currently only 34 percent of eligible children have access to lifesaving ARV medication—without it, 80 percent of them won’t live to see their fifth birthday. 

This new agreement allows generic manufacturers based anywhere in the world to combine DTG with other HIV drugs to create new fixed does combinations (FDC), including FDCs for children. It also expands to future pediatric formulations that are currently in development at ViiV.

Treatment regimens that include DTG can be less complicated than other HIV therapies recommended for children and have a good efficacy and tolerability profile at very small doses. Moreover, the medicine can be used in combination with other drugs for patients that have never taken ARVs as well as for the many that have developed resistance to their current regimens.

“This is great news for pediatric HIV patients.  We must not only scale up pediatric treatment, but also demand high-quality drugs tailored specifically for the unique needs of children,” said Charles Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO.  “We congratulate MPP and ViiV on these new license agreements and their visible commitment to making affordable and effective HIV drugs available to those who need them the most.”

Check out our new video, “Until No Child has AIDS,” to learn about pediatric HIV and what EGPAF is doing to get lifesaving medications to children around the world.