Brazil: Open letter insists that pharmaceuticals’ interests must NOT be prioritized over public health 

The Working Group on Intellectual Property responds to what it sees as ‘an attack on the rights of the Brazilian population’.

On June 12, an official agreement came into force, signed by the directors of Anvisa (the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency) and the Brazilian Patent Office (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial – INPI).

Our partner, ABIA, is part of the working group (Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual – GTPI), which believes that the agreement constitutes an additional attack on the rights of the Brazilian population and serves the interest of pharmaceutical companies which already use the patent system abusively.

Since 2001, Anvisa’s participation has been to analyse the merit of a patent, making the examination more rigorous by preventing the approval of low quality patents. Patent applications that do not contain relevant innovation and are designed purely to retain an unmerited monopoly would be refused.

GTPI sent Mr. Jarbas Barbosa, Anvisa’s director, and Mr. Otávio Pimentel, INPI’s director, an open letter voicing their concerns and criticisms, plus a request for clarifications and also a demand for transparency, these include:

  • A request for further details on which medicinal patents will continue to be analyzed by Anvisa, and how that is decided, as this has not yet been defined.
  • Assurances that INPI will take Anvisa’s participation and recommendations seriously.
  • GTPI also asked about past and unpublished patent rejections, which may have the decision reversed, depending on how INPI will position itself. This includes sofosbuvir, essential for treating Hepatitis C, and cancer drug, afatinib.
  • Finally, GTPI demanded more information about the creation of the “Inter-Institutional Group”, demanding a strong commitment to transparency and social participation.

The open letter is available in Portuguese here.

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