Interest in the use of compulsory licensing is making a comeback in high-income countries in response to concerns about access to Covid-19 vaccines and therapies. Compulsory licensing of patents can, under certain circumstances, be a useful strategy for public health, but high-income countries may face challenges making effective use of the measure. Many HICs have, for example, opted-out of using the a WTO provision allowing compulsory licences for export as an importer. And high-income countries have data exclusivity rules, such as those in Europe, can block registration of generic or biosimilar versions of medicines produced or imported under a compulsory licence.
A new commentary in the British Medical Journal Global Health by Medicines Law & Policy’s Katrina Perehudoff, Ellen ‘t Hoen and Pascale Boulet has been published describing these challenges and options to overcome them. It is available here: https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/4/e005518