Access to Medicines and Domestic Compulsory Licensing: Learning from Canada and Thailand
Within the array of measures for improving medicines access for the world's neediest populations, governments of many countries have turned to compulsory licensing, a statutory mechanism to enable third parties to manufacture a product or process still under patent. In this paper, we focus on a historic case example from Canada and the present example of Thailand's use of domestic compulsory licenses as a policy tool for ensuring public access to affordable medicines. The overarching objective is to draw out policy and legislative insights that may be of value for countries with pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity and which are considering better access to patented medicines for their populations under the current global intellectual property regime. From these cases, it is apparent that although compulsory licensing is not a novel remedy, even in a post-Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights environment, it remains a powerful policy tool in improving access to medicines in a variety of domestic settings.