The Brazilian Center for Strategic Studies and Debates has just released the English version of its major report – Brazil’s Patent Reform: Innovation Towards National Competitiveness.
This 363-page report comprehensively addresses the need for patent law reform in Brazil. The report addresses TRIPS compliance, TRIPS flexibilities, public health, and industrial policy rationales. Scholars, experts, policy makers, and IP/access to medicines activists will benefit from close study of the Report. I urge them further to signal their support for these positive changes by signing the academics/experts letter of support (and/or short technical brief) or the civil society support letter.
The Report and the patent reform process will be formally launched in Brasilia on October 9, 2013. Public officials from India and South Africa will be invited to attend, given that India’s approach to patent law policy has deeply informed the Brazilian approach and since the South African government has just issued its own draft IP Policy that proposes many of the same reforms that are being pursued by Brazil. It is a positive signal to low- and middle-income countries more broadly that Brazil and South Africa join other countries like Uganda, Zambia, Botwana, and Malawi that are also taking proactive steps to incorporate lawful TRIPS compliant flexibilities including stringent standards of patentability, pre- and post-grant opposition procedures, easier-to-use compulsory and government use licenses, and restrictions on data/regulatory monopolies among others.
Even though belated, this growing momentum in Brazil and elsewhere towards taming the excesses of intellectual property and their adverse effects on access to medicines will help countries fulfill their human right to health obligations and ensure patients earlier and more affordable access to life-saving and life-enhancing medicines.