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26 January 2022, 17:14

Belarus seeks license to produce drugs for COVID-19

Photo courtesy of Belarus' Healthcare Ministry
Photo courtesy of Belarus' Healthcare Ministry

MINSK, 26 January (BelTA) – Belarusian Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich met with Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) Charles Gore at the Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN Office in Geneva. The meeting was also attended by Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Yuri Ambrazevich, the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry told BelTA.

The parties discussed the prospects for including Belarus in the MPP license products to ensure wider access to highly effective medicines at reduced prices, including those against COVID-19. The parties also talked over the possibility for Belarus to get the license for the production and sale of the first effective oral drug against COVID-19 – Molnupiravir.

A voluntary licensing agreement was concluded in 2020, under which the Republic of Belarus received access on preferential terms to the generic drug Dolutegravir, recommended by the WHO as a first-line drug for HIV treatment, as well as to DTG-containing drug combinations. Belarus is part of the agreement because it is an upper-middle-income country. “The agreement was preceded by long preparatory work of the Healthcare Ministry specialists together with the Belarus Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Medicines Patent Pool, WHO, and UNAIDS,” Dmitry Pinevich stressed.

Another important area got the MPP is to promote the inclusion of countries in clinical trials of new medicines. A country's participation in clinical trials of specific drugs can subsequently greatly improve access to new drugs at an affordable price. In addition to cooperation in the field of HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, the MPP negotiates with manufacturers of original medicines for diabetes, oncological and cardiac diseases, hepatitis C. In April 2020, the Medicines Patent Pool announced its readiness to include drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 in the list of licensed products. In this regard, Belarus will continue to cooperate with the pool, including on drugs against hepatitis C.

The Medicines Patent Pool is a public organization in the field of health, established in 2010 under the auspices of UNITAID. The pool negotiates licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies for the use of intellectual property rights for the production of drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis C at preferential prices.

Dmitry Pinevich is in Geneva, Switzerland to take part in the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board.

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