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Brazil ponders pharma patent exclusions

Claudia Jurberg, writing in Intellectual Property Watch, reports that Brazil’s lower house of Congress held a hearing last month in which it discussed proposed changes to rules on pharmaceutical patents that would limit patents on (i) second-use drugs and (ii) polymorphs.

Both these areas are controversial. Critics say that second-use drugs are not truly novel or inventive because their medicinal function is already known, while polymorphs are just a way of retaining patent protection in respect of different versions of the same product. Supporters however point out that the costs of R&D and trialling of any drug are immense and the return is uncertain: absence of patent protection will steer R&D away from getting more and better uses from existing products which have known therapeutic effects, which may not be advantageous for patients.

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