US Health Journal Praises Brazil for Playing Hard Against AIDS Drugs Makers

Efavirenz
Brazil has set an example to other developing countries by employing "creative measures" to successfully tackle its HIV/AIDS epidemic, says a new study published by Health Affairs.

The study commends the country's methods employed in significantly lowering AIDS-related death and illness, such as developing generic AIDS drugs in public factories and threatening to produce generic versions of patented medicines.

In 2000, to combat rising treatment costs, Brazil's health minister José Serra pressured pharmaceutical companies to reduce their prices by threatening to issue a compulsory license that would enable local production of generic versions of patented antiretrovirals.

The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement allows a developing country to invoke a compulsory license if the nation's health is at risk, thus allowing the production of patented drugs without payment to the patent holder.

Despite initial protests from the United States, the move proved successful and several companies slashed their prices. Brazil also started producing generic copies of non-patented medicines in 2001.

Brazil issued its first compulsory license to import Efavirenz – the most commonly used HIV/AIDS drug in the country, made by Merck & Co – from India in 2007 and began producing the drug locally this year.

"Brazil's challenges to multinational pharmaceutical companies promoted transparency about the high cost of patented medicines in an era when companies did not publicly share their drug prices," aid Amy Nunn, co-author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University in the United States.

She said in a press release: "Before Brazil's efforts, as recently as the year 2000, most people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries died without receiving treatment."

Brazil's experience is valuable for middle-income countries, who are increasingly relying on generic medicines, say the authors.

Graham Dutfield, professor of international governance at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, says Brazil has set an excellent example for other countries.

"Brazil's drug policy has been absolutely correct, giving priority to the human right to health over private commercial interests, something all countries are required to do under international human rights law," he affirmed.

The authors' findings – based on interviews and analysis of Brazilian media – are published in the July/August edition of Health Affairs.

This article appeared originally in Science and Development Network – www.scidev.net.

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil Won’t Retreat from Haiti, Says Defense Minister

With the death of the Brazilian commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti ...

Brazilians Trying to Make Sense of the Mercosur

The Mercosur (Southern Cone Common Market) will be discussed on a series of seminars, ...

Led by Cereals Brazil Agribusiness Reaches Record Export

Brazilian agribusiness exports generated US$ 4.287 billion in September, an increase of 12.2% when ...

The Sinking of the SS Sarney

By giving Roseana Sarney its unqualified support her own party left voters with the ...

Jangada Days

In Prainha Canto Verde, locals tend to view visitors not as invaders or usurpers. ...

Brazilian Ethics: 68% Buy Piracy, 36% Pay Bribes, 17 Million Sell Their Vote

About 17 million Brazilians, 13% of the electorate, confessed to have traded their vote ...

Brazil Starts Program Against Sex Tourism

The Plan of Action for Sustainable Tourism and Childhood went into effect yesterday. Unveiled ...

Hacker Is Beautiful and I Am One, Says Brazilian Minister

Brazil’s Culture Minister, Gilberto Gil, defended in the recently finished 5th World Social Forum, ...

Fire & Fun

The French brought to Brazil the quadrilha, which is a theatrical dance that tells ...