Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 5
May 5, 2007 WORLD BRIEFING | AMERICAS Brazil Overrides Merck Patent on AIDS Drug By
May 5, 2007
WORLD BRIEFING | AMERICAS
Brazil Overrides Merck Patent on AIDS Drug
By CELIA W. DUGGER
The government, whose spending on AIDS drugs has skyrocketed as more patients have needed costly,
patented medicines, overrode the patent held by the pharmaceutical company Merck on the antiretroviral
drug efavirenz. The cost of Merck’s drugs has been $580 annually per patient.
Brazil said the company had
offered a 30 percent discount, but the government opted instead to buy the generic version from India for
less than $170. For years, Brazil has considered exercising its rights under international trade rules to make
or import generic versions of patented AIDS drugs, but has until now backed away, fearing trade retaliation
from the United States. For more than a decade, Brazil has provided universal free access to drug treatment
for people with AIDS. Almost one in four patients in Brazil are now taking efavirenz. With the new price,
Brazil estimates that it will save $237 million on efavirenz by 2012 when the patent expires. Thailand, which
also has an ambitious AIDS treatment program, overrode Merck’s patent on the same drug in November.
Roche bows to Brazil on Aids drug
Special report: Aids
August 23, 2001
Brazil Will Defy Patent on AIDS Drug Made by Roche
Alex Bellos in Rio de Janeiro
The Guardian, Saturday 1 September 2001 11.31 BST
By JENNIFER L. RICH with MELODY PETERSEN
larger | smaller
SÃO PAULO, Brazil, Aug. 22— After months of negotiations on price cuts ended in deadlock, Brazil said today that it
would break the patent on an AIDS drug produced by the Swiss drug giant Roche.
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche caved in to pressure from Brazil yesterday and
announced that it would reduce the price of an anti-Aids drug by 40%.
The Brazilian health secretary, Jose Serra, called it a victory for developing countries
against the unfair pricing of the drug multinationals.
The nation's health minister, Jose Serra, said he had begun the process of issuing a license to produce nelfinavir, marketed by
Roche under the name Viracept. If Brazil goes through with its threat to issue what is often called a compulsory license, it
would be the first time that the government of a poor country has decided to allow generic copies of a brand-name drug to be
made without the permission of the company that owns the patent.
Viracept is one of the 12 drugs used in the so-called drug cocktail to treat AIDS. The Health Ministry said that the government
bought 82 million units of nelfinavir a year at a cost of $88 million. That accounts for 28 percent of what the government
spends on the AIDS program in a year. In 2000, the Brazilian government spent $303 million in providing the AIDS cocktail
to about 100,000 patients.
Roche said it would sell nelfinavir at the price demanded by Brazil.
Roche had offered this year to cut the price of nelfinavir by 13 percent, but Brazil rejected that proposal as too low, and the
two sides had been negotiating. Mr. Serra said that talks broke off about two weeks ago.
The decision came a week after Brazil aggressively raised the stakes in the long-running
prices battle by authorising its own laboratories to make much cheaper generic copies of
nelfinavir.
Mr. Serra said that the government invoked an article in the Constitution that allows for the breaking of a patent in cases of
abusive prices.
''It's ridiculous that one of the 12 drugs in the cocktail would account for more than 25 percent of the cost,'' Mr. Serra said.
''We spend more on that one drug than on all of the transplants performed in Brazil each year.''
"Pharmaceutical companies have to realise that pricing should be different for
developing countries - Our resources are tight," Mr Serra said.
The government said that domestic production of the drug would save the government 40 percent, a savings of $35 million a
year.
Spokesmen for Roche could not be reached for comment.
"This is a victory for sick people. Brazil is strengthened by the decision, because it is
working in the consumer's interest."
Earlier this year, the United States filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization about a different article of the
Brazilian Constitution that allows for the breaking of patents in cases where a medication is not produced domestically. It later
dropped the complaint.
The Brazilian laboratory which developed a generic copy of nelfinavir will continue
researching the product, although its plans for production have been suspended.
Through the state-owned laboratory Far-Manguinhos, Brazil plans to begin offering the generic drug to patients by February
2002.
The big drug companies have fought hard to avoid a situation like the one with Roche. In March, for instance, Merck &
"
HOME PAGE TODAY'S PAPER VIDEO MOST POPULAR TIMES TOPICS World WORLD U.S. N.Y. / REGION
HOME PAGE
TODAY'S PAPER
VIDEO
MOST POPULAR
TIMES TOPICS
World
WORLD
U.S.
N.Y. / REGION
BUSINESS
TECHNOLOGY
SCIENCE
HEALTH
SPORTS
OPINION
ARTS
STYLE
AFRICA
AMERICAS
ASIA PACIFIC
EUROPE
MIDDLE EAST
Defensive Drug Industry: Fueling Clash Over Patents
Travel Deals
By ANDREW POLLACK
Published: April 20, 2001
Sign up for travel deals and discounts on airfare, hotels,
transportation and more! See Sample
elviradc3@gmail.com
Change E-mail Address |
The big pharmaceutical companies march to the beat of a steady chant
-- that patent protection for drugs is essential for innovation. At the
urging of the drug companies, the United States government has
pressed many nations to honor patents on medications.
SIGN IN TO
RECOMMEND
TWITTER
E-MAIL
But now, it seems, the industry may have overplayed its hand. Drug
patents are under attack, blamed for high AIDS drug prices that deny
life-saving therapy to millions of people in developing countries. And
some analysts say the industry itself fueled the backlash by staunchly
defending its intellectual property in the face of a pandemic that could
claim more lives than the Black Death of the Middle Ages.
SEND TO PHONE
PRINT
SINGLE-PAGE
The latest clash over patents on AIDS drugs came to a boil in South
Africa yesterday, when 39 drug companies dropped a suit trying to block a law the
companies asserted would make it too easy for the government to abrogate their patents.
The debate has erupted in other countries as well. Brazil has threatened to grant licenses to
local manufacturers on patents for AIDS drugs held by Merck and Hoffman-La Roche. In
Thailand, AIDS patients and activists are planning a legal challenge to the validity of a
Bristol-Myers Squibb patent on an AIDS drug.
MOST POPULAR
E-MAILED
BLOGGED
1. Mind Over
2. Steven Strogatz: Chances Are
The uproar over AIDS drugs is threatening moves toward more globalization, eight years
after most nations approved the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights, or Trips, which commits them to enforce drug patents. Activists are
campaigning against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, saying the United
States wants more patent protections.
3. We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
4. More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship
5. Op-Ed Columnist: Not Even in South Park?
6. Op-Ed Columnist: Berating the Raters
7. A Yoga Manifesto
8. Patient Money: Caring for Hips and Knees to Avoid
Artificial Joints
''The Trips agreement was probably the greatest political economic achievement that the
pharmaceutical industry ever had,'' said Jim Keon, president of a trade group representing
generic drug companies in Canada. ''Now it's coming home to roost, though. Can the world
afford it? Is it ethical?''
9. Assessing Jewish Identity of Author Killed by Nazis
10. Abroad: Pardon My French
Go to Complete List »
9. Assessing Jewish Identity of Author Killed by Nazis 10. Abroad: Pardon My French Go to
9. Assessing Jewish Identity of Author Killed by Nazis 10. Abroad: Pardon My French Go to