Friday, May 01, 2009

Korean Government on the Production of Tamiflu and Relenza through Compulsory license

According to a report of Yunhap News, an official in the Minister of Health and Welfare said yesterday "when Tamiflu and Relenza runs short of domestic supply, a compulsory license of patents will be issued to make possible domestic production." He added, reportedly, that upon the request of civil society groups asking to amend a compulsory license provisions of the Patent Act, they reviewed the relevant provisions and concluded that the domestic production of necessary medicines is possible by the decision of Patent Office to issue a compulsory license. In this case, 3% of sales price would be given to the patentees as a royalty.

I'm not sure this is an official position of Korean government. For the original text which is in Korean, refer to

Another news report on the same date, also in Korean, says that the scenario of issuing a compulsory license is just a principle story and Korean government has not specifically considered it. See

At the moment, the stockpile of Tamiflu and Relenza in Korea covers only 5% of population. Government plans to increase the stock to 10% by the end of this year. On the other hand, more than ten Korean pharmaceutical companies announced they had a sfficient ability to produce pharmaceutical products equivalent to Tamiflu and Relenza. It was 2005. So far only one company, Yuhan Corporation, is chosen by Roche Holdings AG, a sole and exclusive licensee of Tamiflu patent which is owned by Gilead Science, Inc. as one of the producers of Tamiflu. In reality, however, Yuhan is simply allowed to take part a portion of production of Tamiflu, which means that Yuhan has no contractual power to produce Tamiflu for the domestic supply.

No comments: