The use of compulsory licenses by governments has always been a contentious issue, as it seems to fly in the face of what intellectual property rights set out to do. Compulsory licenses allow individuals or companies to use another’s intellectual property, without first obtaining the rights holder’s consent. This may have serious consequences on both research and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.
In the past several years, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has issued compulsory licenses on a number of patented drugs, triggering extensive debates on the legitimacy of these licenses. Siraprapha Rungpry, along with five other international experts, has contributed to an article in Chemistry World in which she deals with the most prevalent issues regarding compulsory licenses and their applicability in Thailand, with particular regard to their impact:
“As a matter of public policy, it is highly doubtful whether compulsory licenses benefit patients and improve the healthcare system in the long run. Given the high costs of drug development, it is difficult to justify forcing the patent owners to give up their IP rights. If they are frequently employed without proper grounds, such interventions will reduce investment in research and development of new drugs and the availability of drugs in the Thai market, which will harm Thai patients in the long term.”
Chemistry World is a science news magazine published every month by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The magazine discusses current events in the world of chemistry, focusing on topics such as research, best product applications, international business news, and government policy as it affects the chemical science community. Siraprapha is a consultant in the Tilleke & Gibbins intellectual property group and her practice focuses mainly on pharmaceuticals and life sciences. To read the full article, please visit the Royal Society of Chemistry website.