Stricter patent law amendments, proposed by our partner, the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (the Network), have been approved in Ukraine. When this is adopted it will mean an increase in access to essential medicines.
The amendments to the Patent Law developed by the Network, have been approved by the Ukrainian Government. Now they will be submitted to parliamentary committees to consider the recommendations, and if further approved, will be put to a vote.
After intense discussions during December and January, the Ukrainian Government approved the draft amendments to the Patent Law. The section that relates to access to medicines was developed by the Network.
Closing in on unmerited patents
Proposals include the implementation of patent oppositions proceedings and the restriction of patent term extension. Most significantly, the proposals restrict possible evergreening practices of pharmaceutical companies, by strengthening the patentability criteria and excluding several objects from patenting. The Network actively participated in government debates on the Patent Law amendments, informing officials about the negative impact of patent monopolies on access to medicines and providing them with the data to back it up.
Currently, the bill is under the consideration of parliamentary committees, in particular, the Committee on Science and Education. If the committee approves the proposal it will then be submitted to the parliament for a vote. More than half needs to vote ‘yes’ for it be approved (a minimum of 226 of 450).
Stand strong against patent abuse
The Network expects very charged debates in the meantime as big pharmaceutical companies will try to do everything possible to preserve the existing patent system that encourages proliferation of unmerited patents.
“We call on parliamentarians to adopt the amendments to the existing Patent Law and to withstand to the influence of the big pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists,” says Serhiy Kondratiuk, the Network’s expert on intellectual property and access to treatment.
“In the medium term, implementation of proposed amendments will save significant budget funds allocated for medicines procurement, as well as money of the ordinary patients. Eventually, implementation of amendments to the Patent Law that are proposed by the Network will increase access to essential medicines and, therefore, significantly improve situation with public health in Ukraine.”
The Network will continue work to support the adoption of the amendments as it is essential for public health to achieve the right outcome.