Brazil breaks AIDs drug patent

Business Day reports that the Brazilian president has authorised Brazil to infringe the patent on Efavirenz, an HIV drug made by Merck. Brazil will import a generic version from India, but may eventually produce it itself. The move follows a breakdown in talks between Merck and Brazil, where Brazil urged Merck to only charge it the rate that it charges to Thailand. The president’s office said:

“The compulsory licensing of Efavirenz is a legitimate and necessary measure to guarantee that all patients have access to the drug.”

The IPKat always finds this issue a tough one. On the one hand, he appreciates that if companies can’t recoup their R&D, they won’t invest in these life-saving drugs, but he also sees the need to make the drugs realistically available to individuals.
Brazil breaks AIDs drug patent Brazil breaks AIDs drug patent Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, May 07, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Just one thing I want to highlight:

    "Business Day reports that the Brazilian president has authorised Brazil to infringe the patent on Efavirenz".

    How could you infringe a patent through the legitimate use of compulsory license? Am I missing something here?

  2. Not really. I'm missing something - namely a word for the situation when one does something which would infringe, but for a defence/exception. I knew what I was writing was open to question, but I couldn't think of a better word. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

  3. Business Day reports that the Brazilian president has authorised a compulsory licence in Brazil for a patent on Efavirenz held by Merck.

  4. I'm in agreement with anonymous 1. The words for something which would infringe if it wasn't for a license are "use under licence".

    Emotive words like "break" aren't used with respect to Crown use and shouldn't be used in respect of Brazil.

    The real question is - will Merck be getting adequate remuneration as they are entitled to under TRIPS Art 31 (h)?

  5. The New York Times reports today that the Clinton Foundation has brokered a deal here.

  6. There is a very intelligently written article on the subject of this post available here. It all appears to come down to the price Brazil is willing to pay for the drugs, which is less than that Merck wants to sell them for.


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