Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(16); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.061608.

Balancing Pharmaceutical Innovation and the Chinese Public Interest: A Comparative Research of Compulsory Pharmaceutical Licensing Systems


Fan Yang

Corresponding Author:
Fan Yang

Fidelity Law Firm, Xiamen, Fujian, China


The COVID-19 pandemic clearly constitutes a matter of public health, and so the prospect of using a compulsory pharmaceutical licensing system in China has received renewed attention in the past year and a half. The compulsory licensing system affecting pharmaceutical patents is regarded as a mechanism for improving public access to health resources. This research considers this practice as conducted in India to evaluate whether the practice can be used to balance pharmaceutical innovation and the public interest in China. The findings of existing studies are that this system performs well with respect to addressing health equality in India, but also that it appears to be of practically unpromising with respect to being implemented within China. This research presents the results of a systematic review and a case study format to investigate the importance of adopting appropriate methods to consider issues relating to China’s non-implementation of this practice. This study also considers the extent to which positive changes can be attributed to balancing the interest of different groups within the Chinese system, this mechanism having emerged over an extended period and been drawn upon in relation to relatively few pharmaceutical applications. More studies are therefore required as a means of investigating its application in light of recent developments within public health.


Pharmaceutical Innovation; Chinese Public Interest; Compulsory Pharmaceutical Licensing System

Cite This Paper

Fan Yang. Balancing Pharmaceutical Innovation and the Chinese Public Interest: A Comparative Research of Compulsory Pharmaceutical Licensing Systems. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 16: 47-60. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.061608.


[1] Mercurio B. WTO waiver from intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments: A critical review [EB/OL]. Virginia Journal of International Law Online, 2021 [2023-07-26]. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3789820.

[2] World Trade Organization. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights [N]. 1994-05-15.

[3] Reuters. Sinopharm's COVID-19 shot induces weaker antibody responses to Delta study [EB/OL]. Reuters, 2021 [2023-07-26]. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/ sinoph arms-covid-19-shot-induces-weaker-antibody-responses-delta-study-2021-07-21/.

[4] Matrajt L, Eaton J, Leung T, et al. Vaccine optimization for COVID-19: Who to vaccinate first? [J]. Science Advances, 2021, 7(6): e1374.

[5] Reuters. Covid-19 vaccination tracker [EB/OL]. Reuters, 2022 [2023-07-26]. https://graphics. reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access/.

[6] Rozek R P. The effects of compulsory licensing on innovation and access to health care [J]. Journal of World Intellectual Property, 2000, 3(6): 889.

[7] Fisher W. Intellectual property and innovation: theoretical, empirical, and historical perspectives [J]. Beleidstudies Technologie Economie, 2001, 37: 47-72.

[8] Nordhaus W. Invention, Growth and Welfare: A Theoretical Treatment of Technological Change [M]. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1969.

[9] Levitas E F, Mcfadyen M A, Loree D. Survival and the introduction of new technology: a patent analysis in the integrated circuit industry [J]. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 2006, 23(3): 182-201.

[10] Sweet C M, Maggio D S E. Do stronger intellectual property rights increase innovation? [J]. World Development, 2015, 66: 665-677.

[11] Bartelt S. Compulsory licences pursuant to TRIPS article 31 in the light of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health [J]. Journal of World Intellectual Property, 2003, 6(2): 283.

[12] Yuan J. Analysis on the Reasons for the Zero Implementation of Pharmaceutical Patent Compulsory License in China [J]. Journal of Guangxi Administrative Cadre Institute of Politics and Law, 2019, 34(3): 95.

[13] Padmanabhan A. Coronavirus, Compulsory Licensing, and Collaboration: Analyzing the 2020 Global Vaccine Response with 20/20 Hindsight [J]. SSRN Electronic Journal, 2021, 30: 75.

[14] World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health [N]. 2001-11-04.

[15] Liu J. Compulsory Licensing and Anti-Evergreening: interpreting the TRIPS flexibilities in sections 84 and 3 (d) of the Indian Patents Act [J]. Harvard International Law Journal, 2015, 56(1): 207.

[16] Sood M. Nato Pharma Ltd. v. Bayer Corporation and the Compulsory Licensing Regime in India [J]. NUJS Law Review, 2013, 6: 99.

[17] Cao Q. Insight into weak enforcement of intellectual property rights in China [J]. Technology in Society, 2014, 38: 40-47.

[18] Office of the United States Trade Representative. Statement from Ambassador Katherine Tai on the Covid-19 Trips Waiver [EB/OL]. 2021 [2023-07-26]. https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2021/may/statement-ambassador-katherine-tai-covid-19-trips-waiver.

[19] Chien C. Cheap drugs at what price to innovation: does the compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals hurt innovation [J]. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 2003, 18(3): 853.

[20] Wang F. The Research of Patent Compulsory Licensing System—Take the Case of India Patent Compulsory Licensing as an Example [M]. Beijing: China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House, 2013.

[21] Gough D, Thomas J, Oliver S. Clarifying differences between review designs and methods [J]. Systematic reviews, 2012, 1(1): 1-9.

[22] Ginieis M, Sánchez-Rebull M-V, Campa-Planas F. The academic journal literature on air transport: Analysis using systematic literature review methodology [J]. Journal of Air Transport Management, 2012, 19: 31-35.

[23] Flyvbjerg B. Five misunderstandings about case-study research [J]. Qualitative inquiry, 2006, 12(2): 219-245.

[24] Okoli C. A guide to conducting a standalone systematic literature review [J]. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 2015, 37: 879.

[25] Mitsumori Y. India's first compulsory license: Its impact on the Indian pharmaceutical market as well as the world market[C]// Proceedings of PICMET'14 Conference: Infrastructure and Service Integration. IEEE, 2014: 1437-1443.

[26] Bonadio E. Compulsory licensing of patents: the Bayer/Natco case [J]. European Intellectual Property Review, 2012, 34(10): 719-728.

[27] Raju K D. The first compulsory licencing case in India under the TRIPS agreement: An analysis of Bayer versus Natco Pharma Ltd [J]. Journal of Development Policy and Practice, 2016, 1(1): 71-88.

[28] Singhai A, Singhai M. A study of Natco v Bayer case: Its effect and current situation [J]. MIT International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016, 2(2): 21-23.

[29] Li X. The impact of higher standards in patent protection for pharmaceutical industries under the trips agreement–a comparative study of China and India [J]. World Economy, 2008, 31(10): 1367-1382.

[30] Indian Patent Office. India Patent Act[S]. New Delhi: Indian Patent Office, 1970.

[31] Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. China Patent Act[S]. Beijing: Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, 2020.

[32] Zhou Z, Yu S. Research on Compulsory Drug Patent Licensing in China Under Covid-19[C]// 2020 4th International Seminar on Education, Management and Social Sciences (ISEMSS 2020). Atlantis Press, 2020: 415-417.

[33] Chinese Intellectual Property Office. China Patent Compulsory Licensing Implementation Regulation [S]. Beijing: Chinese Intellectual Property Office, 2012.

[34] Zhou L. A comparative research on the patent compulsory licensing of India and China [D]. Beijing: Central China Normal University, 2013.

[35] Jiang C. Who Is the God of Medicine?-Deciphering China's Stance on Pharmaceutical Compulsory Licensing [J]. Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, 2019, 14(2): 471.

[36] Wang H. Research on Compulsory License System of Drug Patent in China: From the Perspective of Balancing Medical Innovation and Citizen Health [D]. Jinan: Shandong University, 2020.