The Cámara de Diputados of the Chilean Congress has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the President to advance the compulsory licensing request on HCV drugs made in March 2017 by patients, advocates including Innovarte NGO, and elected officials. The resolution, Number 1014, passed by a 96-0 vote with one abstention, and includes the signatures of representatives across the entire political spectrum.
This is a marked increase in support from the 67-0 vote last January, and reflects a growing consensus on the heels of continued pressure within Chile on this issue as well as a recent voicing of international support by NGOs and academics around the world for the Chilean government to proceed with the compulsory licenses to increase access to affordable medicines.
This resolution was drafted by eleven members of the Chilean Congress House of Deputies: Giorgio Jackson Drago, Miguel Ángel Alvarado Ramírez, Marcela Hernando Pérez, Gabriel Boric Font, Karla Rubilar Barahona, Vlado Mirosevic Verdugo, Juan Luis Castro González, Karol Cariola Oliva, René Saffirio Espinoza, Víctor Torres Jeldes, and was supported by Carlos Abel Jarpa Wevar.
Whereas last year’s resolution on this issue was more focused on the protocols and procedures of compulsory licenses, this resolution straightforwardly declares that the public health problems created by the lack of access to hepatitis C treatments constitutes sufficient justification to grant a compulsory license. The resolution cites to a variety of supporting laws and norms, including those within Chilean law and its constitution, as well as to international documents from the WHO, and asks that the President require the Ministry of Health to declare the existence of public health justifications without delay so as to proceed with the grant of the compulsory licenses.
According to Luis Villaroel, Director of Innovarte NGO, “This resolution is very timely given that it coincides with the Chilean President’s formation of a working group that includes the Ministry of Health, Economy and Foreign Affairs to resolve in a coordinated way the request before leaving office in the next 2 months.”
For more background on the Chilean compulsory licensing request, see our FAQ.
III. Que, Por Lo Anterior, La H. Cámara de Diputudados, Acuerda El Siguiente Proyecto de Resolución:
1. DECLARAR: Que de conformidad con los antecedentes tenidos a la vista, la problemática de Salud Pública que representa la falta de acceso a los tratamientos de la hepatitis C por las razones ya expresadas en los considerandos, constituyen justificación suficiente para el otorgamiento de las licencias no voluntarias contempladas en el articulo 51 No. 2 de la Ley de Propriedad Industrial para facilitar el acceso a los medicamentos para la Hepatitis C como el sofosbuvir y sus combinaciones con antivirales de acción directa.
Sofosbuvir, patente F-21778/15, como comprimidos recubiertos de 400 mg, a nombre de Gador Ltda.
2. REQUERIR: A la Sra. Ministra de Salud, para que ésta acoja sin más trámite la solicitud de declaración de la existencia de razones de Salud Pública para la concesión de licencias no voluntarias contempladas en el Articulo 51 No. 2 de la Ley de Propiedad Industrial respecto de las patentes que afectan el sofosbuvir y los retrovirales de acción directa para la Hepatitis C con los que se combina, según le fuese solicitado con fecha 17 de marzo de 2017 en la carta referida en el numeral quinto de lose antecedentes tenidos a la vista.
[Unofficial translation follows:]
III. That, because of the above, the Deputies agree to the following draft resolution:
1. Declare: That in accordance with the antecedents taken into account, the Public Health problem that the lack of access to hepatitis C treatments represents for the reasons already expressed in the recitals, constitutes sufficient justification for the granting of the non-voluntary licenses contemplated in Article 51 No. 2 of the Industrial Property Law to facilitate access to medicines for Hepatitis C such as sofosbuvir and its combinations with direct acting antivirals.
Sofosbuvir, patent F-21778/15, as coated tablets of 400 mg, in the name of Gador Ltda.
2. Require: That the Minister of Health receive without further formality the request for a declaration of the existence of Public Health reasons for the granting of non-voluntary licenses contemplated in Article 51 No. 2 of the Industrial Property Law regarding the patents on sofosbuvir and the direct-acting retrovirals for Hepatitis C with which it is combined, as requested on March 17, 2017, in the letter referred to in section five of the background information.
Ed Silverman, “Chilean lawmakers push for compulsory licenses for hepatitis C drugs,” Stat, Jan. 3, 2018. [Paywall]