A note of clarification from the authors
Reiko Aoki, Kensuke Kubo, & Hiroko Yamane 2006;84;417-8
Our article, “Patent policy and public health in developing countries: lessons from Japan”, which was published in the May 2006 issue of the WHO Bulletin and is presently posted at the website http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/5/ contained sentences which are misleading.
Our intention in writing this article was to describe how industrial policies and health care policies work in concert to create long-term solutions to current health care issues. In Japan, the introduction of product patent protection was combined with the control of insurance coverage and the price of pharmaceutical and other medical expenses. Changes in the patent system were strategically positioned as part of industrial policy. We wish to stress the appeal of this approach.
In Japan, by fine tuning patent breadth and encouraging cross-licensing for R&D, the patent system was used to enhance domestic welfare by empowering domestic industry. A drastic anti-patent policy might have increased very short term consumer welfare, but would not have led to the development of an innovative pharmaceutical industry. From this perspective, we wished to say that dependent patent arbitration was a better solution than indiscriminate compulsory licensing. Although the arbitration option was never exercised, its mere existence is likely to have encouraged the development of local R&D and business.
Above all, we wished to stress that the transition in Japan was made possible, by a host of well-coordinated health and industrial policy instruments, rather than a single patent policy. For this reason, we would like to introduce the following corrections, with a view to providing the readers with an accurate understanding of our position.
- In the text in the 2nd paragraph, middle column on page 417: Replace “local working” with “non-working”
- In the text in the first full paragraph, middle column of page 418, lines 20-24: Replace the sentence “Linking compulsory licensing to R&D by domestic firms would be a reasonable way to stimulate innovation and encourage voluntary cross-licensing.” by the following: “The patent system could thus serve as the infrastructure for developing local R&D and business."
- On page 418, first column, second phrase, lines 34-35: Delete “similar to the threat of compulsory licensing”.
- In the text in the first full paragraph , last column of page 418, lines 4-11: Change “may benefit domestic consumers” to “should benefit domestic consumers”.
- Corrections previously requested at the time of proof-reading:
1. Page 418, last column, line 38: "... the hurdle on patentability." should be changed to "... the hurdle on patentability - in particular, inventive step."
2. Reference 1(bottom of page 418): first author should be "Aoki R" not “Aiko R”.
Reiko Aoki (a), Kensuke Kubo (b), & Hiroko Yamane (c)
(a) Department of Economics, and Japan Studies Centre, New Zealand Asia Institute, University of Auckland, New Zeland.
(b) Institute of Developinc Economies, Japan External Trade Organization, and Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA. Correspondence to be sent to this author (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
(c) National Graduate Institue for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan.