J&J Will Not Join Medicines Patent Pool; Company’s Pharma Head Says Mechanism Could ‘Cause Disaster’

Pharmaceutical company “Johnson & Johnson has rejected calls to offer patent rights on its HIV medicines to generic drug companies through a” Medicines Patent Pool, created to promote low-cost antiretroviral drugs in low-income countries and the development of new drug combinations and formulations, the Financial Times reports. “Paul Stoffels, worldwide head of pharmaceuticals at J&J, … cautioned that the pool could trigger a ‘mixing and matching’ of medicines that would cause a rapid surge in patient resistance to innovative HIV drugs” that could “cause a huge disaster,” according to the newspaper.

Stoffels said the company preferred to supply low-cost drugs to developing countries through bilateral agreements with generic pharmaceutical companies, the Financial Times notes. “Ellen ‘t Hoen, head of the Medicines Patent Pool, said: ‘We are not concerned, but disappointed J&J came to the conclusion they are still not ready to make the jump.’ She said the Medicines Patent Pool would be stronger if every company participated, and she was expecting ‘good news’ … from others,” the newspaper writes (Jack, 12/23).