In September 2015, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission ("NHFPC") issued a Three-Year Action Plan for Treating Cancer (2015–2017). Among the measures proposed for increasing the society's capacity to fight cancer is the patent-compulsory license. For drugs that domestic companies still cannot copy, the action plan contemplates using "drug price negotiation to accelerate the commercialization of relevant drugs by lowering the procurement price." NHFPC has tailored the messages vaguely, keeping the public guessing whether the government will use the compulsory license to socialize patent-protected drugs or will use the threat of the compulsory license to bargain down drug prices in negotiation. In 2012, the State Intellectual Property Office of China ("SIPO") released detailed Compulsory Patent License Rules, which provided a road map for compulsory license applicants. Although SIPO has not granted any compulsory license, NHFPC's action plan should alert innovators that they need to take proactive measures to avoid losing the full benefits of their patents in China.
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