Pharmaceuticals

US Firm Won't Enforce AIDS Drug Patent in Poor Countries

Will allow for manufacture and sale of cheaper generic versions without fear

|

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced Thursday that it would not enforce its patents on its AIDS drug Prezista in the world's poorest countries and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Offering cost relief to people infected with the HIV virus, J&J said it wanted to assure manufacturers that they can freely produce the generic version of the drug, darunavir, for sale in poor countries without fear of being accused of patent violation.

The new policy applies only to countries defined by the United Nations as Least Developed Countries, and also to sub-Saharan Africa, where the AIDS epidemic has been most intense.