World CAB: meetings and reports

World Community Advisory Board (World CAB)

The World CAB was an early international network of HIV treatment activists that are focussed on better global access to HIV and other treatments.

It was first coordinated by activists from i-Base in the UK and GMHC in the USA, in collaboration with ITPC who now run this project.

The focus of bringing international activists with drug companies (both originator and generic) is to increase equity of access.

Since 2004, people living with HIV and HIV community advocates from around the world have met to plan how they can advance treatment literacy. Also to increase the involvement of people living with HIV into decisions by the commercial, research, educational and care programmes that affect us.

In Europe and the U.S., community advisory boards (CABs) have long been an important vehicle for representing the needs of people living with HIV to drug companies, researchers and government regulators.

The World CAB organises meetings on an ad hoc basis.

Since 2008, the World CAB has been organised by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).

Word CAB 1: Focus on international drug pricing

In February of 2004, for the first time, a World CAB was convened to enable PLWHA from the developing world to voice their concerns about drug pricing and research practices in their regions to senior executives of the multinational pharmaceutical industry.

Twenty-seven individuals from 21 countries gathered in San Francisco, California in advance of the annual Retrovirus Conference, the most important annual scientific conference on HIV, to meet with officials responsible for global marketing and pricing policies at Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Activists discussed with pharmaceutical representatives mainly the issues of drug pricing policies within low and middle-income countries, availability of ARV products and utility, research and clinical trials in developing regions and involvement of PLWHA in activities of drug companies.

World CAB 1 report 2004 PDF (107 Kb)

World CAB 2: Meeting with the Indian generic drugs industry

In January 2005, an unprecedented meeting was held in Mumbai, India, between four manufacturers of affordable generic antiretroviral medicines and 30 advocates for HIV treatment access drawn from every region of the world.

This was the second meeting of a worldwide HIV community advisory board (CAB) with drug companies. The companies meeting in Mumbai included Cipla, the pioneer manufacturer of low-cost antiretroviral (ARV) drugs; Hetero, a large supplier of the bulk drug substance to many other generic drug makers; Strides, a small supplier of ARVs with historical ties to the African market; and Ranbaxy, an emerging powerhouse with ambitions of joining the ranks of the multinational, research-based pharmaceutical industry.

The meeting in Mumbai was intended to explore some of the problems that the generics industry can address, including the need for paediatric formulations of generic ARVs; the need for equally affordable second-line therapy for use when one’s initial ARV regimen is not tolerable or has been compromised by resistance; and the need to address sometimes radical disparities in pricing that occur from country to country.

A key topic of discussion was the recent withdrawal of several important ARVs from a quality assurance list maintained by the World Health Organsation (WHO) that many governments rely upon when purchasing large quantities of drugs. Other issues included low-cost generic ARVs and new patent laws in India.

World CAB 2 report 2005 PDF (160 Kb)

World CAB 3: Access to drugs needed for second-line therapy

The third World CAB was held from  13–14 July 2006 in the UK and co-sponsored by i-Base. ITPC brought its 27 members to meet with brand-name companies such as Gilead and Abbott. Delegates discussed issues related to access to second line antiretroviral regimens, pricing policy, voluntary licensing, TDF renal toxicity and others. Many follow-up actions were planned on the last day of the meeting.

Both Gilead and Abbott made reference to country rating by income produced by the World Bank. This rating is far from reality as it does not use the health per capita money numbers set apart by our countries, which is where financing is found for free ARVs national programs. In analyzing this income distribution, it’s more than evident that the World Bank rating is not realistic as far as health investment, and distorts companies’ views at pricing time. – said Ivan Allende, ITPC representative from Paraguay.

Report from the meeting PDF

World CAB 4: Licensing and access globally to generic Indian medicines

This meeting with executives from three generic manufacturers in India focused on registration and medicines regulation; drug pricing; production of second-line medicines; WHO prequalification; and pharmacovigilance in developing countries.

In March 2008, ITPC’s World Community Advisory Board met again with key Indian generic AIDS medicines manufacturers – Matrix Laboratories, Aurobindo and Ranbaxy in New Delhi, India.

Discussions were held between top executives of these companies on registration and medicines regulation; drug pricing; production of second-line medicines; WHO prequalification; and pharmacovigilance in developing countries. ITPC and companies agree to share data to expedite drug registration in countries and push for improvements in WHO pre-qualification process.

Report from World-CAB 4 meeting..

Out of this latest meeting WorldCAB has been established a standing committee of ITPC.

The Birth of the African Community Advisory Board (AFROCAB)

Other regional CABs developed by ITPC

ITPC website