There’s been a fair bit of discussion in the last little while over ‘breaking’ the Tamiflu patents. Actually, of course, what we are talking about is not ‘breaking’ patents, as such, but rather, applying exceptions to patent protection, which are well-established both in Australian law, and in international law (via Article 30 of TRIPS, affirmed by the Doha Declaration). This would involve compulsory licensing of the patents – the patentee gets paid, but has no ‘right of veto’ and in effect loses some of the benefits of the monopoly. The debate heightened when Taiwan announced it would be using its rights under international law to have Tamiflu manufactured.

Now, I’m not proposing to go into a deep analysis of the issues, but I’ve seen a few links recently, and thought I’d collect them in one place. So if you are interested in following up these issues, here are some sources.

On the ‘break the patents’ side, the most obvious and articulate proponents have been Peter Drahos and his colleagues. See:

  1. This article in the Medical Journal of Australia
  2. This op ed in the SMH

On the ‘don’t break the patents’ side, see:

  1. This op ed in the Boston Globe.

On the ‘not sure this is a hard issue’, see:

  1. This op-ed by the CEO of Care Australia

And on the ‘Roche should just issue a blanket non-exclusive license on reasonable terms’ side, see:

  1. This post on Patent Baristas

Other suggestions of course welcome.