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Veras Juliana

PhD student in Sociology, EHESS

Postgraduate program: Health, Population and Social Policies

Funding from Sidaction and the Pierre Berger Foundation (2010-2013), and a Humboldt grant (2013-2014)

Contact: veras(at)ehess.fr / veras.ju(at)gmail.com

Dissertation title: Contemporary challenges of the generic-drugs industry in Brazil: Developing and producing anti-HIV/AIDS generic drugs

Under the supervision of Maurice Cassier (Cermes3, EHESS) and the joint supervision of Marilena Correa (IMS, UFRJ)

Brazil has been set up as a model in its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in particular because it was the first country of the South to undertake a program of universal and free distribution of antiretroviral drugs for its population. The success of this public-health policy, which guarantees the right to access treatment for all, is in particular attributed to the production of generic antiretroviral drugs by Brazilian public and private laboratories.

Until the mid-1990s, when drugs were exempted from patent ownership, the production of generic drugs based on copy and reverse engineering of patented molecules was a legal practice in the country. It was only with Brazil’s adherence to the TRIPS agreements in 1994 that the country reformed its intellectual-property law, recognizing patents on drugs.

Although first-line antiretroviral drugs could be freely copied by Brazilian public and private laboratories, today’s major challenge for the sustainability of the Brazilian HIV/AIDS program lies in producing second-line antiretroviral drugs, which are patented and more expensive. The core question of our research is to understand how Brazil now manufactures quality generic second-line antiretroviral drugs in order to meet the needs of its program of universal and free access to anti-HIV/AIDS treatments.

We will follow the trajectories of some second-line antiretroviral drugs considered as essential to the Brazilian AIDS program by looking at the recent developments of Brazilian industrial policy as well as the conflicts established, in particular by organizations fighting against AIDS, around the intellectual property of these molecules. These changes are related not only to the constitution of public-private partnerships orchestrated by the Ministry of Health, but also to the facilitation of circulation and to exchanges between industry and university. At a time when the debate on the quality of generic drugs has become a major stake in this policy, we will also follow exchanges between the Ministry of Health, the Brazilian drug agency ANVISA, and the pharmaceutical laboratories.