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Advancing Indonesia’s Patent Reforms Can Help Incentivize New Medical Innovation

While the global community continues to recover from the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, other infectious diseases continue to emerge. To meet those challenges, Indonesia has placed great emphasis on creating a resilient healthcare ecosystem. One key step Indonesia can take is to make changes to its patent law in 2023 that support timely access to new medicines and would also bolster the nation’s economy.

Indonesia’s current laws, encapsulated in the 2016 Patent Law, are making it harder for businesses to be innovative. Patents promote innovation by allowing companies and individuals to protect ideas, new technologies and products, such as medicines. This critical intellectual property (IP) protection incentivizes further research and development, including costly and time-consuming medical R&D. The 2016 Indonesia Patent Law creates unnecessary barriers to obtaining a patent by imposing additional or heightened patentability criteria that discriminate against particular classes of biopharmaceutical technology .

Even further, the law precludes patents on new uses and new forms of existing medicines. To bring valuable new medicines to patients, biopharmaceutical innovators must be able to secure patents on all inventions that are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application..

Indonesia can look to its neighbors for examples of how pro-innovation patent policies can help economic growth and local patients. In 2020, Indonesia received 8,160 patent applications compared to 13,265 patent applications filed in Singapore. The following year, Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.6%, faster than Indonesia’s GDP growth of 3.7%.

Studies show that patents help economies grow, and improvements to Indonesia’s 2016 Patent Law could create incentives for innovation and research and development. Indonesia should use internationally recognized patent criteria to encourage businesses, like biopharmaceutical companies, to apply for patents and bring more innovation to the country. Updating and reforming the 2016 Patent Law will help foster innovation and promote faster patient access to medicines, a critical step to improving the health of Indonesians.

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