$1 a day HIV/AIDS drug regimen
In the early 2000s, KEI’s founder, James Love, advocated to lower the price of HIV/AIDS drugs for patients in developing countries. Love convinced generic manufacturer Cipla to sell the standard 3-drug HIV/AIDS regimen for $1 per day, a breakthrough price that saved — and continues to save — millions of lives. Love’s work culminated in the creation of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), two of the world’s largest providers of HIV/AIDS treatments.
In announcing the creation of PEPFAR, President George W. Bush said during his 2003 State of the Union Address that the $300 per year price for HIV/AIDS drugs placed “tremendous possibility within our grasp.”
Jamie Love’s critical role in the battle for access to antiretroviral treatment in Africa and other parts of the global south is portrayed in the 2013 award-winning documentary Fire in the Blood as well as in a profile published by The Guardian on January 26, 2016.
The Doha Declaration
The Wall Street Journal credited KEI (under its former name CPTech — the Consumer Project on Technology) as one of the “real drivers” behind the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in a November 16, 2001 editorial.
The Declaration, adopted by the 2001 World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, affirmed the flexibility of WTO members to take measures to safeguard public health and promote access to medicines, including the use of such measures as compulsory licensing and parallel importation.
The Medicines Patent Pool
KEI pioneered the creation of the Medicines Patent Pool. The United Nations-backed public health organization was created in 2009 and works to increase access to HIV, viral hepatitis C, and tuberculosis treatments in low- and middle-income countries. It partners with industry, civil society, international organizations, patient groups, and other stakeholders to license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacturing and the development of new formulations.
The WIPO Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled
In 2008, KEI envisioned, drafted, and proposed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) a treaty requiring contracting parties to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules in order to permit reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled, and to permit exchange of these works across borders by organizations that serve those beneficiaries. KEI worked with the World Blind Union to promote the treaty, which was concluded in 2013 and signed by 51 countries on its first day, a record for any copyright treaty.
KEI pioneered the widespread use of compulsory licenses, a legal tool that countries can use to break patents and authorize low-price generic alternatives when high prices or other factors limit access to pharmaceutical products. including promoting measures to improve the transparency of the pharmaceutical industry; ensure the availability of independent and reliable information about pharmaceutical products; improve generic competition policy; reform procurement policy; create better global norms on the collective management and licensing of patents and other intellectual property rights.
KEI is currently providing assistance to countries and advocates that are pursuing compulsory licenses. It works on cases in Colombia (with Gleevec, a chemotherapy treatment for leukemia), Romania (with medicines used in the treatment of Hepatitis C), and the United States (in particular with Xtandi, a treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer). Recently, KEI was an expert witness in the first successful compulsory licensing case in India, on the chemotherapy drug Gleevec (imatinib).
In the UK, KEI, through the Coalition for Affordable T-DM1, a group that it created, launched a new initiative by submitting last October a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, requesting the government to authorise the manufacture or importation of generic versions of the prohibitive breast cancer treatment T-DM1, also known by its trade name Kadcyla. More than 1,500 women in the UK could be kept alive right now by this medication, which is too costly for general NHS use.
KEI received the 2006 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, for its work on advancing the public interest in intellectual property policy.
James Love received the 2013 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award, for his work on a UN treaty on copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have other print disabilities (the Marrakesh Treaty above mentioned). He also received the 2007 Public Knowledge IP3 Award.
In 2015, Ralph and Claire Nader granted Manon Ress and James Love the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage on behalf of the Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest.