February 24, 2015, Medicines Patent Pool announced a license agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. and MSD Italia s.r.l. (collectively «Merck») for pediatric raltegravir. From the EECA region, the following countries were included into the geographical coverage of the license: Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The license allows importation of peadiatric forms of raltegravir sublicensed from the Patent Pool.
On the one hand, EECA CAB welcomes the decision of the company to include our region in the geographic coverage of the license. We appreciate Merck’s taking into consideration the needs of the children for whom treatment options are limited, and for whom access to such drugs as raltegravir is critical. However, in practice, the inclusion of these 7 countries in the license will not lead to a real expansion of access to treatment in the near future.
EECA CAB calls on Merck to extend the terms of the license agreement covering EECA countries to the adult forms of raltegravir and urges Merck to take steps to ensure registration of the medicine in countries where it is still not registered, and, given the difficult social and economical situation the region is currently facing, decrease prices for raltegravir in the countries where it is used.