In 2006, Brazil will begin to produce substances such as AZT, D4T, and 3TC, ingredients which go into the preparation of medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS and which are not protected by patents.
According to the director of the Ministry of Health’s STD/AIDS program, Pedro Chequer, Brazil is currently obliged to import these ingredients from countries like India and China. The International Patent Compliance Agreement was signed in 1997 and protects medications.
“The policy that is now in force is for Brazil to produce its own inputs and thus not depend upon importation, which leaves the country vulnerable to market fluctuations and international crises. This alters our prospects by making the country self-sufficient in the production of inputs as well,” he affirms.
Chequer also said that the country is already capable of producing the ingredients for some non-patented drugs.
Within a period of 4 months, he said, Brazil will also be able to produce the ingredients for the three medications for which the Ministry requested voluntary licensing (Tenofovir, Efavirenz, and Lopinavir/Ritonavir).
According to Chequer, all companies, state enterprises or not, are eligible to become producers of these substances.
On March 14 the Ministry requested voluntary licensing (equivalent to technology transfer compensated by royalty payments) in a letter addressed to three American pharmaceutical laboratories: Merck Sharp & Dohme, Abbot, and Gilead Science Incorporated. The Ministry expected the laboratories to reply by last Friday (8).