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[e-drug] US asks Brazil to derogate decree on compulsory licensing

  • From: James Love <love@cptech.org>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 16:36:00 -0500 (EST)

E-drug: US asks Brazil to derogate decree on compulsory licensing
[copied from Pharm-Policy; original message from the
treatment-access@hivnet.ch discussion group. WB]

In several meetings with USTR, CPT, Act Up, MSF and others have been
assured that the US government is not taking action against Brazil for
the October 1999 Presidential Decree regarding compulsory licensing.
Apparently that is not true. The following is a note to Treatment
Access Forum, that describes Secretary of Commerce Daley's request that
the Brazil government derogate the decree on patents (October 6th,
1999), concerning compulsory licensing. This yet another astonishing
example of the gap between the rhetoric in the US versus the actions on
the ground on these issues.

Jamie Love

>From treatment-access@hivnet.ch Mon Feb 21 09:01:05 2000
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 09:46:49 MET
From: TREATMENT-ACCESS - Jorge Beloqui <treatment-access@hivnet.ch>
To: Treatment-access <treatment-access@hivnet.ch>
Subject: [729] After South Africa and Thailand, it's Brazil turn

'Treatment Access' is an independent forum provided by
the Fondation du Present http://www.fdp.org

Dear friends,

We are sending two files about the recent visit of W Daley, US Trade
Secretary, to Brazil.

We translated an article in Folha de São Paulo from Feb 12th. Yesterday
there was another, after his visit.

Let's keep in touch and see what can be done.

jorge beloqui

São Paulo, February 15th, 2000

Minister of Health
Dr. José Serra
E-mail beloqui@ime.usp.br


Open letter from Grupo de Incentivo à Vida to Brazillian MoH

Dear Sir,

We read with extreme concern the article published on February 12th, in
the Journal Folha de São Paulo, under the title "Patents laws may
generate a new conflict with the US" in Section 2, pg 3. It asserts that
the US Trade Secretary, William Daley, will ask the Brazilian government
the derogation of the decree which regulates the PATENTS LAW, which
"allows the compulsory licensing of products in case of national
emergency or public interest". The news, originated in Washington,
continues by expressing that they fear the M. of Health considers the
abusive prices of drugs as a case of public interest which would justify
the compulsory obtention of patents for the emergencial production of

The Secretary will be accompanied by officers from 16 companies. Some of
them are the Merck President Raymond Gilmartin, Pfizer vice-president,
Ian Read and AOL President, Charles Herington. We recall that recently a
Congress Investigating Commission for Drugs unveiled the confidence of
the financial operations of some pharmaceutical laboratories, both
national and foreign such as Merck and Abbott, to investigate price

The article also informs that the compulsory licensing - as it is known
- is contemplated in the WTO agreements.

By supporting the abusive prices of drugs of US pharmaceutical
industries in Brazil, the Secretary and the industries show little
concern with the right ot life and health of Brazilian citizens, and try
to interfere in national sovereignity.

GIV (Grupo de Incentivo à Vida), an AIDS non governmental organization
founded in 1990 which basically congregates PWHIV/AIDS, expresses
unrestricted support to maintaining these legal tools and its exercise.
We ask the Executive to preserve and do not save any efforts to support
the right to health of Brazilian citizens energically rejects any act
towards this direction.

Yours sincerely,

Jorge A. Beloqui Cláudio T. S. Pereira
Secretário Presidente


Translation of Folha de são paulo article:

From: http://www.folha.com.br

Patents law can generate conflict with US

By Márcio Aith (Washington) Translated and adapted by Jorge Beloqui.
Integral version at the web page http://www.folha.com.br Folha de São
Paulo , February 12th, 2000

The Trade State Secretary , William Daley, will ask the Brazilian
government to derogate the decree on patents (October 6th, 1999),
written by the M. of Health, Dr. José Serra, which did not please the US
pharmaceutical industry e may be the newest conflict between both

Dalye, who traveled to South America yesterday night, in an official
visit , expressed in a talk to students that he will raise, in his talks
with the Brazilian authorities "serious concerns related to some
provisions on the patents laws (Brazilian)".

An assistant, Bernard Carreau, explained to the Folha de São Paulo, that
these provisions are in a decree which, while regulating an article in
the patents law, allowed the compulsory licensing of products in cases
of "national emergency or public interest".

According to Folha, the US pharmaceutical industry fears that the decree
gives to the M. of Health the power to consider abusive prices for drugs
a case of "public interest", which would justify the compulsory
obtention of patents for the emergency production of medicines. In his
trip to Brazil, Daley will be accompanied by the world President of the
pharmaceutical giant Merck, Raymond Gilmartin, and Pfizer's
vice-president for Latin America, Ian Read. Other officers from 16
companies will be with him: the AOL (America on Line) President for
Latin America, Charles Herington, five officers from electric companies
and the Bell South's vice-president.

Compulsory licensing is the power of governments to oblige, in
exceptional situations, that the owners of patents provide industrial
secrets temporarily to the public power (or to other companies). The
general principle of compulsory licensing was already a part of the
Patents law, in 1996, and is part of international agreements on this
topic. It aims to warrant the access of essential products to the market
in extreme cases, in which the patents' owners do not supply the market,
do not manufacture the product or deny licenses.


The US are specially worried about the article in the decree which
obliges the patents' owners to "transmit the necessary and sufficient
informations for the effective reproduction of the protected object, and
other technical and commercial aspects applicable to the case".

- A posting from treatment-access@hivnet.ch

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