[Ip-health] Australia to introduce legislation on compulsory licensing for export

Richard Elliott relliott at aidslaw.ca
Mon Apr 11 13:37:32 PDT 2011

Does anyone have any more information about this story below or have contacts with NGOs that are involved in these discussions?



Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research


Joint media release with the Minister for Trade, the Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP

22 Mar 2011

Developing countries experiencing a health crisis will now be able to buy vital medicines from Australia at a more affordable price.
Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson today announced that the Government would introduce legislation to allow Australian courts to grant compulsory licences to manufacture and export patented pharmaceuticals to countries trying to deal with epidemics and other types of health crises.  

The United Nations estimates that nearly two billion people do not have access to essential medicines.  

In 2008, an estimated 285 million people were infected with malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, causing 4.2 million deaths.  Many of the countries that are suffering such epidemics are developing or least-developed countries with limited resources and manufacturing capabilities. 

Senator Carr said lives would be saved through nations working together.

"The new system will enable a country that is experiencing a serious epidemic to ensure that its own population is supplied with vital treatments," Senator Carr said. 

"The Government continues to support and encourage innovation, investment and international competitiveness by ensuring that patent owners will receive adequate compensation for any licences issued.

"Measures will also be taken to help ensure that pharmaceuticals exported under the system reach the people that need them and are not diverted to other markets." 

Dr Emerson added: "Pandemics and other serious health issues remain a terrible problem in many of the world's poorest countries.

"Anything Australia reasonably can do to alleviate the suffering in these countries should be done and we are delighted to be able to help through this initiative."

The new system implements an international agreement on public health in the World Trade Organization, amending the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Protocol). 

Developing countries and other interested organisations will now be able to apply to the Federal Court for a licence to manufacture and export patented pharmaceuticals from Australia to countries in need. 

The Government is aiming to have the new system in place by the end of 2011.

Richard Elliott
Executive Director | Directeur général
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network | Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida 
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