During a seminar hosted by the Brazilian Association of the Pharmaceutical Research Industry (INTERFARMA) last week in Brasilia, the Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, said the country should never compulsory license drug patents, since this practice harms both the inventiveness and the investments made in R&D by private companies. This sets a new tone on the government’s position towards intellectual property for pharmaceutical products.
“There is no good in threatening to break patents. The country should never do this. We have to watch over the inventiveness and the time spent by researchers over the research counter. I know that each one of you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish your compliance system [to comply with law and regulation], and that this is now mandatory inside the companies”, said Mandetta.
The Minister of Health’s speech is in line with the Ministry of Economy’s liberal positioning. The statement that “the country will not set a public health policy based on patent breaking” sets a new chapter in the Brazilian public health policy. The Minister addressed healthcare sector executives and stated that, since the private sector is the one responsible for providing drug production, the Government’s role should be to stimulate production initiatives.
During INTERFARMA’s seminar, the Minister of Health affirmed his commitment with innovation, as well as with providing public access to new pharmaceutical technologies through the Brazilian National Healthcare System (SUS). He also said the Government is currently revising the model it uses to incorporate healthcare therapies.
“The Ministry of Health has great expectations regarding the healthcare sector. The 21st century will be a wonderful century to live in. Each one of you can be in the imminence of announcing the next step, the next breakthrough. After deciphering the human genome and putting it at science and the pharmaceutical industry’s disposal, we knew we would have a century of innovations in genetics”, he said.
The seminar was attended by the Minister of Health, the Presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congressmen, the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office’s (INPI) President, executives of the healthcare sector and other public officials. There were presented panels about intellectual property, the country’s economic landscape, innovation and clinical research.
Eduardo Hallak, partner at Licks Attorneys, also attended the event.