Compulsory License No. CL 01/2004

Declaration of Natinal Emerency

On September 3, 2004, the Zambia's permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry announced that the government has declared the AIDS epidemic a national emergency. The country plans on issuing TRIPS-compliant compulsory licenses for antiretrovirals to local producers. Most of the news stories covering this announcement include the following two common misunderstandings about compulsory licenses: 1) compulsory licenses can only be issued in a state of emergency, and 2) goods produced under exports can not be exported. The TRIPS Agreement does not limit compulsory licenses to national emergencies, and on August 30, 2003, the WTO agreed that drugs could be exported to resource-poor countries (although this is governed by a complex set of rules).

(The actual WTO rules on compulsory licenses are found in Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement. The rules on exporting drugs produced under compulsory license can be found in the Implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health.)

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