The prices of AIDS medicines are on the rise again. At US$ 600-1000 for one patient’s yearly treatment, the improved first-line treatment recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) costs seven to eleven times as much as the previously recommended regimen. With increasing numbers of AIDS patients failing on their first-line therapy, there is also an urgent need to find affordable second-line treatments.

Furthermore, children’s needs continue to be overlooked: of the 22 antiretroviral (ARV) drugs currently available, six are not approved for paediatric use and seven are not available in paediatric formulations.

A patent pool could help make AIDS medicines more affordable and appropriate for patients. For example, it could facilitate the development of fixed-dose combinations (FDC) of first- and second-line regimens for adults and children. By combining multiple drugs into one pill, treatment is easier to take for patients, which can enhance patient adherence, improve health outcomes, and reduce the risk of resistance.