Thursday, 4 November 2010

Brazil: Defending Public Health

18/10/2010, Geneva. Brazil, India and South Africa joined forces to reject pressure for the extension of intellectual property rights and called for effective use of flexibilities such as compulsory licensing.

The position was manifested in a crowded seminar promoted by these three countries for the international community. The seminar also addressed ‘legal confusion’ between generic and counterfeit drugs.

Brazilian Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo explained that "Counterfeit drugs are a serious problem. Nobody is here to promote the sale of counterfeit or to promote the sale of any medication to the detriment of the human right to health".

The Brazilian position is to combat counterfeit medicine as a crime against public health, and not the private right, said Erika Vega, representative of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).The agency reported that in 2009, it has made over 53,000 arrests and confiscated over 235,000 tons of unregistered drugs.

According to the organization Doctors Without Borders, which operates in over 60 countries, explained that the price of medicines is central to combating counterfeit, but also added that "competition is as important as the production of generics."

The news reported that “some participants did not hide their surprise at the price of generics in Brazil, considered very expensive for a country that seeks to exercise leadership in the area.” The information refers to an article written by the American scholar Robert Naiman published in the "Press Review" of the WTO, in which the author “urges Brazil to be more forceful and effective leader for access to essential drugs. If Brazil strongly promoted the production of generic alternatives, this would result in lower prices for the country and lower for other countries".

Interfarma, the entity that represents the pharmaceutical industry, explained that there is not such a thing as a war against generics. On the contrary, the pharmaceutical industry wants to do a mix of brand-name drugs, generics and the like, and wants to ensure the safe and effective product.

Source abifina

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