Brazil won an important victory with regard to generic drugs at the World Health Organization recently where a resolution was passed that will separate the question of patents and trademarks (counterfeits) from the problem of falsifications.
Brazil joined other South American and African countries, along with India, in demanding that generic drugs be given the same protection from falsifications that name drugs receive.
The decision will protect the quality of generic drugs and set up a watchdog agency consisting of representatives from WHO member states. This was important as it will permit countries with the greatest interest in the issue to police it.
The dispute over the question of counterfeits versus falsifications with regard to generic drugs became acute because pharmaceutical companies and some Western nations insisted on treating the whole problem as one of patents and trademarks, “…Mixing the question of intellectual property rights with the problem of inferior drugs manufactured often in unsanitary conditions,” according to Brazil’s minister of Health, José Gomes Temporão.
Recently a shipment of generic drugs was confiscated in Europe (they were being shipped from India to Brazil) because of the confusion. Brazil and India submitted the matter to a dispute panel at the WHO.
Minister Temporão says the recent decision was political and will calm the situation. “Generics are on the rise. Over the next few years many patents will be expiring, making it possible to put more and more generic drugs on the market.
In Brazil 20% of the market is generic and it is a market that is expanding rapidly. In the United States, 40% of the drugs sold are generic. In England, 60% are generic. This decision was a victory for Brazilian diplomacy and our health sector,” declared Temporão.