XVIII International AIDS Conference


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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.
Description: In 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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