IViR Lecture: Access to Medicine During Pandemics: Is Compulsory Licensing the Answer?

IViR is pleased to announce that
Sapna Kumar
will give a lecture entitled
Access to Medicine During Pandemics:
Is Compulsory Licensing the Answer?

on Tuesday 11 October 2022

Wealthy countries with major pharmaceutical industries have historically supported strong patent rights and opposed temporarily abrogating them—even to save lives. However, as COVID-19-related drug shortages arose, governments began reassessing their views. The European Union (EU) and various EU member states issued new policies and passed legislation facilitating their ability to provide drugs to their citizens for the duration of the pandemic. They signalled a willingness to use “compulsory licensing,” in which a government issues a license to a third party to produce a patented invention without the patent holder’s permission, in exchange for paying compensation. By contrast, in the United States, the Trump administration embraced “vaccine nationalism” and attempted to spend its way to priority drug access. And although the Biden administration supported a patent waiver for low-income countries during the pandemic, it too remained opposed to using compulsory licensing to provide drugs to its own citizens.

In this talk, Professor Sapna Kumar will provide an overview of compulsory licensing and discuss the role that it can play in lessening pandemic- and epidemic-driven drug shortages. She will further discuss why it ultimately was not enough to prevent widespread vaccine shortages, and discuss needed changes to alleviate future drug shortages.

Professor Sapna Kumar holds the John Mixon Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center and is currently a Visiting Researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation. She has written extensively about international law and administrative law issues relating to patent rights.

Professor Kumar is a 2018–2019 Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Grant recipient and researched the use of technically-trained patent judges at the University of Strasbourg’s Center for International Intellectual Property Studies in France and at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Germany. Professor Kumar received her J.D. at the University of Chicago, where she served as a staff member of the University of Chicago Law Review. From 2003 to 2006, she practiced intellectual property litigation in Chicago at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and at Pattishall McAuliffe. She then spent two years at Duke University Law School, where she was a Faculty Fellow and part of the Center for Genome Ethics Law & Policy. After completing her fellowship, Professor Kumar clerked for Judge Kenneth Ripple on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Date: 11 October 2022
Time: 15.30 – 17.00 CET (Amsterdam)
IViR Room, 5.24, REC A, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam.
– Online via Zoom (you will receive the Zoomlink via e-mail on the morning of the lecture).

See also the flyer.

Please fill in the form to sign up for this IViR Lecture.