TIV provides an expert analysis on the “Government use of compulsory patent licensing to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Is this the right approach to enable access to life-saving medicines?”
At the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the globe were struggling to address an unprecedented demand for medicines, medical supplies, diagnostics and treatments. Complicating these shortages even further was an issue which tends to evade the public’s attention. Namely, that many of these medical supplies and life-saving drugs are protected under the umbrella of patent rights, muddling their accessibility during a health crisis. In an effort to shed light on this complex problem, TIV’s experts, wrote an article on how these legal measures affect the availability of much-needed materials during the pandemic. In doing so, we provided guidance on what can governments due to ensure that hospitals, providers and patients receive the necessary resources during an epidemiological emergency, in addition to describing how such legal and regulatory instruments operate. Moreover, we elaborated on multiple mechanisms by which governments can approach this problem, such as the implementation of compulsory licenses which suspend the monopoly effect of a patent thereby allowing others than the patent holder to produce and supply the product. The study continues into a discussion of multiple case studies, including how national governments, such as that of Israel, have issued compulsory patent license to import lopinavir/ritonavir from a generic company, thereby making the treatment more accessible.