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U.N announces HIV/AIDS drug agreement

UNITED NATIONS, July 13 (UPI) -- A U.N. agency hailed an agreement it says will increase access to HIV/AIDS antiretroviral drugs in developing countries.

The Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS described the new license agreement between the Medicines Patent Pool and pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences as a turning point for future private sector collaboration in sharing advances in the global fight against the human immunodeficiency virus.

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The Medicines Patent Pool negotiates with patent holders to share their intellectual property with the Pool, then licenses it to other producers to ease the production of affordable generic medicines well-adapted for use in poorer countries, a UNAIDS release said Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Gilead will share intellectual property on a range of HIV/AIDS drugs, and companies interested in producing generic versions of the medicines for developing countries will be able to approach the Patent Pool to negotiate licensing terms, UNAIDS said.

"This agreement between the Medicines Patent Pool and Gilead signals a new era in the response to HIV with private and public sectors working hand in hand for the best interests of public health," Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAIDS, said.

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