Jair Bolsonaro (no party) sanctioned with vetoes, last Thursday (2), the Bill 12/2021, on the “breaking of patents”. In the assessment of experts on the subject, the president defaced the original proposal and favored the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.
The text, authored by senator Paulo Paim (PT-RS), established measures to expand and make Brazilians’ access to vaccines and medicines cheaper in situations of health emergency. The PL proposed to improve the compulsory licensing mechanism, provided for in the Industrial Property Law 9,279/96 and was created to face possible abuses committed by patent holders.
Bolsonaro vetoed paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11 of article 2 and exempted companies holding patents from the obligation to provide information and biological material for the production of drugs whose patents are released by law. Article 3, which established the application of the new law during the covid pandemic, was also vetoed.
The Working Group on Intellectual Property (GTPI) announced, on Thursday night, that it will work with lawmakers to try to reverse the vetoes in Congress.
“The presidential veto dismantles the initiative of the Brazilian Congress, which is currently one of the most promising in the world when it comes to correcting the imbalances that patents are causing in the equitable distribution of vaccines and medicines”, said Felipe de Carvalho, coordinator of the Campaign for Access for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and member of the GTPI, in a note released by the group’s press office.
The PL was opposed by pharmaceutical companies, which now globally control the production and distribution of vaccines and treatments. “The performance of the large multinationals in the sector has been marked by billionaire invoicing, regular price increases, prioritization of demand from rich countries and reluctance to share knowledge that will allow for expanding the production and distribution of vaccines”, said Pedro Villardi, coordinator of GTPI, on the same note.
Even the United States, which has laboratories holding intellectual property for vaccines, has already taken a stand for the release of patents. Brazil did not defend compulsory licenses in any meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), causing discomfort among developing countries that have delayed vaccination, such as India and South Africa.
Few laboratories control the production and distribution of immunizing agents in the world, preventing their reproduction through patents that guarantee a monopoly on intellectual property for 20 years or more.
During the pandemic, Bolsonaro advertised ineffective medicines, such as chloroquine, and made it difficult for the population to access vaccines.
About 30% of the Brazilian population took both doses against the new coronavirus. Today, immunizing agents are in use from the laboratories Sinovac/Instituto Butantan (Coronavac), Astrazeneca/Oxford/Fiocruz, Pfizer and Janssen – the latter in a single dose. The Russian Sputnik vaccine is produced in the country by União Química and is awaiting authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).
Edition: Vivian Virissimo