Pipeline patents as an obstacle to access to AIDS treatment in Brazil
Presented by Marcela Vieira (Brazil).
M. Vieira1, F. Viegas Neves da Silva2, R. Reis2, V. Terto Jr.2, M.C. Pimenta2
1Conectas Human Rights, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2ABIA - Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Issues: In 1996, Brazil changed its IP law to comply
with WTO TRIPS Agreement but went beyond its international obligations in the
pharmaceutical sector. A provision known as “pipeline” was included to
revalidate patents already filed and granted abroad. In total, 1,182 patents
were granted under this mechanism.
This has an impact on the local production and access to ARV in Brazil. About 8 second line ARVs are protected by pipeline, removing them from public
domain without an evaluation of national interests.
2007, a network of Brazilian NGOs decided to legally
challenge the constitutionality of pipeline mechanism. A petition was presented
to the General Attorney urging him to contest the IP Law
regarding pipeline patents before the
Federal Court. In 2009, the General Attorney filled the legal action
questioning the constitutionality
of the pipeline mechanism (ADI 4234) and NGOs presented two amici curiae briefs to Supreme Court,
showing the impact of the pipeline
provision on the access to ARV.
Lessons learned: NGOs can play an important role denouncing the
negative impact of IP rights on health and proposing measures to overcome those
obstacles. Social mobilization and community participation are important
strategies to achieve fairer medicine legislations.
Next steps: The Supreme Court didn't come up with a decision
yet. We are planning to launch a public
campaign urging a decision and raising public awareness on the impact of pipeline patents on the price of
medicines. If the Supreme Court decides that the pipeline mechanism is illegal,
ARV generic versions and about 340 other medicines would
be accessed at affordable prices, either by importing ARV available in the
international market or by local production.
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