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Are Compulsory Licenses in Australia’s Future?

Issued: July 01 2013

Implementing the TRIPS Protocol in Australia could give companies the ability to respond to future health crises in less-developed countries, says Medicines Australia chief executive Brendan Shaw.

New legislation implementing the TRIPS Protocol will give Australian companies the ability to help respond to future health crises in less developed countries, says Medicines Australia chief executive Brendan Shaw.


“Medicines Australia strongly supports the implementation of the TRIPS Protocol in Australia,” Shaw said in a statement.


The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2013, which was introduced in Parliament in May, contains provisions that would allow third parties to seek a compulsory license from the Federal Court to manufacture patented medicines for export to developing countries facing health emergencies.


“Medicines Australia, its members, and other stakeholders worked closely with the Australian Government to design a system that would not only be consistent with the principles of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health but would also protect the rights of Australian patent holders,” Shaw said. “The global medicines industry has long been at the forefront of the effort to bring life-saving medicines to the world’s poorest. Since 2000, it has invested over A$15 billion (US$14 billion) in public health programs in some of the world’s least developed countries and donated over 2 billion doses of vaccines and medicines for infectious and chronic diseases.”


The Bill also reforms other areas of Australia’s IP laws, including the clarification of Crown Use provision that were, again, developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders including industry. The Bill achieves the right balance between assisting people in developing countries to access treatments and safeguarding intellectual property to ensure new medicines and vaccines are developed for future generations, Shaw said.


“It’s a good example of how government, industry and stakeholders can work together to develop good policy and legislation that achieves common goals. I commend all sides of politics for pursuing these important reforms and delivering an outcome that will benefit patients around the world,” he said.