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In a much ballyhooed move, ViiV Healthcare finalized a deal to license its long-acting injectable HIV prevention shot to the Medicines Patent Pool so that generic companies can make and distribute lower-cost versions to low- and middle-income countries. But the agreement also generated criticism over manufacturing restrictions and pricing uncertainty.

The agreement comes just two months after the company, which is largely controlled by GSK, announced it was going to enter the licensing deal. The move followed harsh criticism over a decision made earlier this year to remain the “sole supplier” on a global basis during the initial launch years. The medicine, which is called Apretude but also known as cabotegravir, was recently approved in the U.S.


The deal with the Medicines Patent Pool, an organization backed by the United Nations that negotiates licensing rights for manufacturing, is seen as highly significant in the ongoing fight against HIV. Globally, 38 million people were estimated to be living with HIV at the end of 2020, according to the World Health Organization. There were 1.5 million new infections that same year, according to the United Nations.

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