UNITAID strives to target underserved niches where its funding model can have an impact on the market and where UNITAID can complement the work of other health actors. UNITAID support has been focused on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.
UNITAID’s 2010-2012 strategy states that UNITAID funds can only be used for “the purchase and supply of high-quality medicines, diagnostics and prevention products including reasonable costs for quality control, shipping, insurance and procurement management.” The costs of a program’s implementation (operating costs, administrative expenses) must be secured separately from other donors, with the exception of a few programs designed to improve processes—including supply chain and regulatory compliance (see below).
From 2007 through 2010, UNITAID committed US$1.5 billion to support sixteen projects, across four project areas (see UNITAID committed funds, 2007-2010):
Source: UNITAID 2010 annual report
Over half of all funds (55%) have been committed to projects addressing HIV/AIDS treatment, primarily procurement and supply of pediatric and second-line anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).
About a fifth (22%) of funding has been committed to malaria projects, primarily:
Most funding for TB programs has been committed to:
UNITAID has funded two cross-cutting projects:
The 17 projects funded by UNITAID are implemented by 10 partner agencies in 94 countries (see Projects supported by UNITAID, 2007-2011).
|Project||Implementing Partner(s)||Project funding commitments by the end of 2010 (US$ million)|
|Procurement/supply of pediatric antiretrovirals (ARVs)||Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)||$380.1|
|Procurement/supply of 2nd-line ARVs||CHAI||$305.8|
|Preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV||UNICEF, WHO||$104.5|
|Safeguarding availability of ARVs||ESTHERAID||$16.0|
|Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria||Global Fund||$130.0|
|Accelerating scale-up of long lasting insecticide treated nets||UNICEF||$109.3|
|Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) scale-up initiative, purchasing ACTs for 21 countries||UNICEF, Global Fund||$78.9|
|Assure artemisinin supply system||i+solutions||$9.3|
|ACTs for Liberia and Burundi||WHO||$1.3|
|Multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB diagnostics: rolling out new rapid tests in 27 countries||Global Drug Facility (GDF), Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, Global Laboratory Initiative||$87.6|
|Support for MDR-TB scale-up initiative, in 18 countries||GDF, WHO Green Light Committee (GLC), Global Fund||$54.0|
|Support for development of, and access to, child-friendly TB medicines||GDF, GLC, Global Fund||$37.3|
|Increased access to first-line TB drugs, in 19 countries||GDF||$26.8|
|Acceleration of access to MDR-TB drugs (Strategic Rotating Stockpile)||GDF, GLC, WHO||$11.6|
|Support for pre-qualification program||WHO||$54.5|
|Round 6 support: support to strengthen the Global Fund's actions in 42 countries||Global Fund||$52.5|
Source: UNITAID 2010 annual report
In addition to these projects, UNITAID is also financing the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation, which aims to make new HIV medicines available at lower prices for developing countries (see below).
UNITAID’s key implementing partners are the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), UNICEF, and the Global Fund. Together, these three organizations received about three-quarters of the total UNITAID commitments between 2007 and 2009 (see Breakdown of funds by implementing partner, 2007-2010).
Source: UNITAID 2010 annual report. CHAI: Clinton Health Access Initiative; GDF: Global Drug Facility; GLC: WHO Green Light Committee; FIND: Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.
In December 2009, UNITAID’s Executive Board approved the establishment of a patent pool for HIV medicines, and provided start-up funds of US$4 million. At the December 2011 Board meeting, UNITAID’s Board committed US$26.3 million for the patent pool for the 2012-15 period.
In July 2010, the patent pool became an independent legal entity, separate from UNITAID, called the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation. The foundation aims to make new medicines to treat HIV available at lower prices for low- and middle-income countries.
The Pool will work in three steps (see How the Medicines Patent Pool works).
Source: E2Pi figure, based on information from the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation
The Pool secured its first license in September 2010, from the US National Institutes of Health, on a series of patents related to the ARV darunavir, and a second license for products from Gilead Sciences in July 2011, which was amended in November 2011. The license from Gilead relates to four products:
The generic company Aurobindo Pharma Limited joined the pool in October 2011, and a second generic manufacturer, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, joined in February 2012, allowing these companies to manufacture these four products.