GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been urged to waive patent protection on HIV drugs to make them more available to Aids sufferers in developing countries.
A letter from 15 organisations, including the Stop Aids Campaign, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Unicef and Christian Aid, wants GSK to join a patent pool being put together by Unitaid.
This would allow cheap generic copies to be made without legal restraint or delays from the manufacturers, which enjoy patent protection for 20 years.
The appeal follows an story in the Guardian newspaper in which GSK boss Andrew Witty outlines his reservations about such a pool.
But he also says: “I’m not saying no to anything, because nobody’s actually put in front of me a really concrete proposition.”
He points out that that GSK already funds research into drugs for children, and he is prepared to allow generic companies make cheap copies of its HIV drugs under license.
Copyright Press Association 2009