A measure of hope for World AIDS Day: AbbVie Announcement

Promoting The Common Good

CBIS’ ongoing work related to basic human rights includes urging drug companies to provide access to medicines to help reduce suffering. As we pause to reflect this World AIDS Day, we are pleased to note the announcement between AbbVie (a pharmaceutical company spun off from Abbott) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) concerning AbbVie’s making more widely available HIV medications for children. “This is a significant achievement and we applaud AbbVie and MPP,” noted Julie Tanner, Assistant Director, Catholic Responsible Investing for CBIS. “We strongly believe that access to healthcare is a human right and goes to the dignity of the person. The fact that only 25% of the 3 million children with HIV have access to treatment demonstrates how important partnerships of this kind can be to ensure that life saving medication is available to everyone.” The agreement will allow access to generic formulations of AbbVie’s HIV drug in countries accounting for 98.9% of children living with HIV.

MPP was established in 2010 to improve access to HIV medicines and technologies. Greg Perry, Executive Director of MPP, stated “We are pleased with the license signed today with AbbVie for key World Health Organization-recommended medicines for pediatrics. This agreement will contribute to ongoing efforts to improve HIV pediatric care by helping accelerate the development of new medicines catered to the needs of those most vulnerable, infants and toddlers in the developing world.” MPP encourages companies to share their patents for HIV/AIDS medications through the Pool, as a way to make them more accessible and affordable for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Other companies have made commitments with MPP, including Bristol Myers Squibb and Gilead. Prior to this announcement, AbbVie was the only drug maker that had not yet issued voluntary licenses for any of its HIV medicines.

This follows a decade of effort by CBIS on the behalf of our Participants. In 2007, for example, CBIS led investors in encouraging Abbott to lower the price of its AIDS drugs in the poorest countries, which resulted in a 50% decrease in the price of Kaletra, a critical AIDS drug, in 40 countries.

Catholic Investment Screening
AbbVie is also one of the few pharmaceutical companies that do not violate CBIS’ Catholic investment screens, which exclude companies due to involvement in abortion, contraception, or embryonic stem cell research. Abbvie is held in the CUIT Core Equity Index, CUIT Balanced and CUIT Growth Funds.

For more information:

Top Pediatric HIV/AIDS Drug to be Offered by AbbVie for Generics Manufacture