In a recent decision the Brazilian Trademark and Patent Office (INPI) granted to the company Gilead the patent of the drug sofosbuvir, used in treatment for hepatitis C.
The granting of this patent re-ignited a very old, but important discussion revolving the conflict between patents and competition problems, especially in this case where the patent prevented the production of a generic drug, which was the center of the whole controversy.
One of the most pressing issues on cases like this is the fact that by obtaining the patent Gilead has the power to charge whenever amount it demands, what is understable, but problematic, especially in cases related to health care, like this situation. On the other hand, the company invested money and effort on research and development of products, so it “deserves” to achieve good economic results due to its patent.
This situation will not be solved on a general level, but a balance can be achieved, for example, in this case, Gilead submitted a proposal to the Brazilian Ministry of Health offering lower costs and creating a partnership with public companies to produce a generic version of sofosbuvir in Brazil. However, the proposal was received with skepticism by its critics, like the Doctors Without Borders, that emphasis the high cost of the treatment, even with the new proposal, and the existence of different alternatives.
Lawyer Author of the Comment: Luciano Del Monaco
Headline: Dona de patente que barra genérico contra hepatite C promete desconto a governo
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