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Brossard Antonielli Alila

PhD candidate in sociology, EHESS 

Contact: alila.antonielli(at)ehess.fr


Dissertation title: The technology transfer from Brazil to Mozambique for manufacturing local generic antiretroviral medicines

Phd advisors: Maurice Cassier (CNRS) and Marilena Correa (IMS - UERJ)

Since 2003, Brazil supports the implementation of a generic drug factory in Mozambique for the local production of generic antiretrovirals (ARV). This ambitious project in South-South cooperation aims to improve HIV/AIDS treatment coverage in developing countries and reduce the sanitary gap that had widened since the globalization of pharmaceutical patents monopolies.

Brazil is globally renowned for its innovating policy of universal treatment of HIV/AIDS, closely associated with an industrial policy for the manufacturing of generic medicines, and its international engagement for the access to ARV medicines. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and Farmanguinhos, the main public pharmaceutical producer in Brazil, transferred to Mozambique the technology acquired in the last two decades by reverse engineering of ARVs, including marginal innovations in the process of manufacturing, and trained the factory’s staff.

Although local production in Mozambique has started in 2013, the distribution of locally produced ARVs depends on prequalification by the World Health Organization (WHO). Without this certification, the local factory is unable to sell its production to the Mozambican Ministry of Health, which depends on international financing institutions to purchase ARVs. Other challenges are related to ensuring the quality of active pharmaceutical ingredients, training of human resources and the local appropriation of knowledge for manufacturing drugs.

This research examines the unfolding of this project that involves public health, diplomacy and technical knowledge circulation, the political dynamics around its implementation and the practical conditions of complex knowledge circulation and acquisition. Our aim is to contribute to the understanding of the stakes involving the manufacturing of generic drugs and the access to treatments in low-resource countries heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where there are critical needs for essential medicines. It will also contribute to new insights into their participation in a new global political economy of medicines and its consequences for the treatment policies of the countries in the global South in the context of the HIV/AIDS burden and the recent recommendations by the WHO for early treatment.

This research is funded by a grant from the Île-de-France Region.