Pathway to Microbicide Access

The promise of microbicides to help bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic to an end will only be realized if women can obtain any future products easily and affordably, and will be able to incorporate the tools into the context of their lives.

IPM has been laying the groundwork to ensure that effective microbicides, if approved by regulators, can quickly get into the hands of women in developing countries, who face the highest risk of HIV.

Changing the Paradigm

New drugs have historically been designed and developed for industrialized markets, and introduced in developing countries only several years later, if at all.

IPM is committed to changing this paradigm by designing microbicides specifically to meet the needs of women in developing countries and working with partners to make them available where they are most urgently needed.

From Product Development to Delivery

To maximize potential rollout and uptake of any effective microbicide, IPM considers access throughout the product development process based on a set of core principles that involves identifying women’s needs and preferences, encouraging consistent product use, ensuring affordability, and working with partners to establish and implement delivery systems for future products.

Identifying women’s needs: To encourage uptake of future microbicides, IPM works directly with women to understand their needs and product preferences from the earliest stages of product development.

Early in the R&D process, IPM conducts market research and product acceptability studies with women in developing countries who would use our products. These studies gather women’s input on various product types to inform the development of user-friendly microbicides that women can and will use. Such studies informed IPM’s decision to advance the monthly dapivirine ring as its lead product. The ring is currently under regulatory review.

Supporting product use: A study called REACH began in February 2019 to assess young women’s use of and preferences for the monthly ring and daily oral PrEP and understand how to support consistent product use among this high-risk group. Collaborations with implementing partners will also help inform the development of targeted educational materials and adherence interventions to support women as the ring is rolled out.

Affordability: Ensuring affordability—especially in a new product category like microbicides—requires myriad considerations, from acquiring active drugs through royalty-free agreements that lower startup costs to prioritizing compounds and product formulations that are not only acceptable to women but also are cost-efficient to manufacture and deliver.

IPM is also working on a three-month dapivirine ring that would further reduce costs. Read more about large-scale manufacturing of the dapivirine ring

Partnering for the dapivirine ring’s success: As a nonprofit product developer, IPM is partnering with a global network of organizations, including government, pharmaceutical, health services, civil society and academic sectors, to strategically plan for affordable access to the dapivirine ring and its successful rollout, if it is approved. Learn more about IPM’s plans for the ring’s market introduction and its Access Advisory Committee.