The non-governmental organization, Doctors Without Borders (MSF, Médecins Sans Frontières), denied that a possible Brazilian request to break the patent of the AIDS drug Kaletra could have a negative impact on the discovery or development of AIDS treatments.
This charge was made by Abbott Laboratories, the American company that controls the Kaletra patent.
According to the director of the MSF’s Access to Essential Medications Campaign in Brazil, Michel Lotrowska, “This statement is incorrect, because Brazil is only a derivative market. The multinationals develop drugs like Kaletra for the wealthy countries, where they make their profits.”
Lotrowska supported his argument by observing that “investments for research on pediatric anti-retroviral drugs are inadequate, because the children who suffer the most from AIDS live in poor countries, and, because they are children, they don’t work and don’t have money.”
In Lotrowska’s opinion, the criteria for the prices charged for Kaletra can also be challenged in humanitarian terms.
According to him, Brazil will be able to reduce the price of the medication, because it has a lot of clout, since it is capable of producing the drug, and because it buys large quantities through a governmental program.
Lotrowska recalled that so-called patent-breaking is compulsory licensing, for which the country will not cease making royalty payments to the laboratory.
Therefore, he affirmed, “this attempt by multinationals to make it appear that compulsory licensing is theft or only for eventual emergencies is very odd.”
ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br