In an unexpected development, AbbVie (ABBV) is waiving restrictions on licenses held by a nonprofit for its Kaletra HIV pill so that other companies can supply the medicine anywhere in the world. As part of the decision, the drug maker will no longer enforce patent rights relating to adults or children.
Notably, the move by AbbVie came after the Israeli government last week approved a license to purchase a generic copy of Kaletra after speculation rose that the pill could be used to combat the novel coronavirus, even though a paper published a few days earlier in the New England Journal of Medicine raised doubts about its effectiveness to do so.
The Israeli Justice Ministry explained that AbbVie was unable to supply enough of the pill and planned to import generic substitutes from countries where the patent had already expired. The drug maker quickly agreed to remove any obstacles for the government and agreed to dedicate intellectual property rights to the public, although the company initially did not say whether such a move would extend elsewhere.