Can the use of compulsory patent licensing enable access to life-saving medicines in the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak?

One way for governments to deal with this issue is to activate the rights to forcibly license a patented invention when there is a threat to public safety, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Under certain (very limited) circumstances, prescribed by the law, compulsory licenses suspend the monopoly effect of a patent and allow others than the patent holder to produce and supply the product.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The compulsory licensing measures are an important instrument to address immediate public health concerns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, they do not address the big question of how proprietary COVID-19 technologies will go to market and how they will be made available globally. There is an urgent need for global collaboration, public-private partnerships in enabling better access and affordability of new medical technologies. Products for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 should be readily available to the general public without cumbersome restrictions imposed by the patent system.

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