ViiV Healthcare, the joint venture set up by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer last year, is to make its entire HIV/AIDS portfolio and pipeline available to generics firms which serve the world’s poorest countries.

The initiative has been extended to 69 countries, which ViiV says covers all least-developed and low-income countries and all sub-Saharan Africa. These territories account for 80% of where the world’s HIV sufferers live and include 34 countries in Africa and 15 in Asia and the Pacific, one in the Caribbean. They range from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Under the terms of the scheme, ViiV will grant royalty-free licences to generic drugmakers and aside from products already on the market, an investigational integrase inhibitor that is being jointly developed with Shionogi. ViiV also acknowledged the contribution of Shire which has waived its royalty rights for products containing lamivudine.

ViiV chief executive Dominique Limet noted that the numbers of people in poor countries moving onto second-line therapy is very low compared to the developed world. He added that as more people have access to treatment, there is an increased need for other options once initial treatment failure occurs.

Dr Limet went onto say that “the HIV agenda now needs to take into account not only doing what we can to make drugs available, but also supporting the whole health system, including medical professionals and the provision of health services such as diagnostic and laboratory tests”.