Among the provisions of emergency legislation passed in Canada are rules making it easier for the Government to compulsorily license a medicine.
Stat News reports that although Canadian law already allowed for compulsory licensing if needed, the coronavirus legislation allows some steps to be skipped, such as negotiating over the terms of such a move.
The specific terms of the new laws referred to are amendments to the Patent Act. From the Bill:
“51 The Patent Act is amended by adding the following after section 19.3:
Application by Minister
19.4 (1) The Commissioner shall, on the application of the Minister of Health, authorize the Government of Canada and any person specified in the application to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to the public health emergency described in the application.”
It remains to be seen if and how the new legislation will be used during the current crisis, and if the Bill can be repealed as planned later in 2020. Read Stat News’ report here, and the full Bill here.