Title: Compulsory licensing for access to medicines in the developing world

Authors: Sagarika Chakraborty, Angira Singhvi

Addresses: Ekta Heights, Block 1, Flat #12 E, 56 Raja S.C. Mallick Road, Jadavpur, Kolkata – 700032, West Bengal, India. ' Ekta Heights, Block 1, Flat #12 E, 56 Raja S.C. Mallick Road, Jadavpur, Kolkata – 700032, West Bengal, India

Abstract: In this paper, we argue that compulsory licensing is a fundamental tool that developing countries may use in certain conditions to ensure that poor people have access to necessary medicines. This measure may produce positive social effects. Unlike developed nations, developing countries have rarely used the compulsory license as an instrument of public policy. Moreover, abuse of patent rights has often led to abuse of economic power. Compulsory licensing engenders competition, thereby reducing the price of medicines. WTO members also have the right to determine what constitutes national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency to issue compulsory licensing. Our thesis does not ignore the important role that patents play in fostering technological progress. Our purpose is only to point out that compulsory licensing promotes social well-being to the extent that it obviates the drawbacks of a patent system. Finally, there is no risk of decreasing investment in research because the market in developing countries is not significant for multinational companies.

Keywords: patents; compulsory licensing; prices; trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights; IPR; TRIPs; developing countries; poverty; access to medicines; public policy; social well-being.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2009.023259

International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, 2009 Vol.3 No.2, pp.110 - 126

Published online: 15 Feb 2009 *

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