The Brazilian government recently deemed the anti-HIV med Tenofovir a "public interest." That's code for, "We're thinking about issuing a compulsory license for this drug." Under WTO rules, countries can circumvent patent protection on drugs it needs to combat a public health crisis. Brazil has some 600,000 people living with HIV.
Currently, Brazil treats 31,300 of those patients with Tenofovir at a cost of $1,387 per person. If the country imported a generic version made in India--at a cost of $170 per patient per year--it could save more than $30 million annually.
Gilead Sciences, which makes Tenofovir, had applied for patent protection for the med in Brazil. The country's health ministry formally dissented. The application remains under review by regulators.
ALSO: The U.S. Trade Rep is keeping Thailand on its naughty list for its new habit of issuing compulsory licenses, which allow the government to circumvent patent protection, on various drugs. The pharma industry had been lobbying to have Thailand downgraded. ReleaseÂ | Report
Dems back compulsory licensing
Brazil pushes drug self-sufficiency in new pact
Thumbs down on Gilead's HIV patents