Civil Society Organizations in Brazil fight for better access to Dolutegravir

Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA), along with the Working Group on Intellectual Property (GTPI) of the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (Rebrip) and the National Articulation for the Fight Against AIDS (Anaids), have sent a letter to the Ministry of Health requesting the compulsory licensing of all patents and patent applications related to dolutegravir.

This request comes on May 4th, marking 16 years since the compulsory licensing of efavirenz in Brazil. Dolutegravir is the most widely used medication in the context of HIV/AIDS policy in the country. The letter highlights the importance of access to affordable medication for those living with HIV/AIDS, and the need for the government to take action to ensure that this access is not hindered by high prices due to patent monopolies. The Ministry of Health has yet to respond to the request.

The situation of dolutegravir in Brazil is currently at risk due to the existence of patents and patent applications related to this medicine. According to information available in public databases, there is at least one granted patent and three relevant patent applications associated with dolutegravir in the country, which enables a monopolistic power to the pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare (a joint venture between GSK and Pfizer created in 2009) and Shionogi & Co., Ltd.

The letter claims the government to issue a Compulsory licence (CL) for dolutegravir generic production. CLs are a legitimate and legal instrument provided for in Brazilian and international law, which allows the government to authorize the use of a patented technology by a third party without the consent of the patent holder.

“We know the road will be long, and we are going to face intense geopolitical pressure. Rich countries and transnational corporations, indifferent to the public health needs of the Global South, are not going to sit still and wait for us to put an end to their neo-colonial privileges. That’s why we also need to raise awareness about this at the international level and show the world that our movement is not giving up on the fight for our people’s health”, finishes Alan Rossi Silva, a lawyer at ABIA and Coordinator of International Affairs of the Working Group on Intellectual Property (GTPI)

Read the full letter here.

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