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Cambodian intellectual property law to draw drug firms: govt official

Written By vibykhmer on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | 10:17 PM

PHNOM PENH, Aug 25, 2009 (Xinhua) -- A senior Cambodian Commerce Ministry official said he hopes a draft law easing intellectual property restrictions on imports and exports of essential medicines will encourage major manufacturers of generic drugs to set up operations in Cambodia, local media reported on Wednesday.

The Law on Compulsory Licensing for Public Health will be submitted to the Council of Ministers "soon" and is expected to be passed by the National Assembly by the end of this year, Var Rath San, director of the Ministry of Commerce's Department of Intellectual Property Rights, which drafted the law, was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

The law would bring Cambodia into line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations allowing developing countries to bypass patents when importing and exporting drugs used to treat serious diseases such as malaria and HIV.

"Hopefully, foreign investors and large foreign pharmaceutical firms that are not eligible to produce generic drugs at home will come to set up factories to produce generic drugs for local and overseas pharmaceutical markets," Var Rath San said.

The WTO's 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) allows developing countries to issue a compulsory license to drug manufacturers, allowing them to produce a patented drug without the consent of the patent owner.

A "proper fee" must be paid to the patent holder, but the fee is determined by the government according to its ability to pay.

Ministry of Health Secretary of State Chou Yin Sim said the law will help expand the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Cambodia.


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