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Innovating from the South : Production, invention and appropriation of pharmaceutical knowledge in Brazil and India - 5-7 mars 2012

Pharmasud Workshop, Rio, 5-7 March 2012

Pharmasud will explore models of pharmaceutical innovation and production situated in Brazil and India, which appear to be either original or heterodox in various respects – scientific, medical, economic, political – compared to the standard proprietary innovation model generally applied by the pharmaceutical industry. The seminar is intended to describe and analyze the dynamics of the production of knowledge and products that we are studying in India, around the reformulation and industrialization of plant preparations by Indian firms, and in Brazil, around the copying of patented chemical molecules by local public- and private-sector pharmaceutical firms in the context of public health programmes.

The workshop will examine the way in which local producers and inventors mobilize heterogeneous knowledge bases, including traditional pharmacopoeia ; bio-prospection of indigenous knowledge and substances ; international patent bases and scientific publications ; reverse engineering ; to develop similar or innovative products, derived or hybrid molecules ; new standardized formulations of traditional remedies, combinations of molecules or of new mixtures of substances, etc. In India hybrid models can for instance combine the mining of traditional medical (for instance Ayurvedic) texts, the negotiation of bio-prospection contracts, and the use of patent law to protect new formulations. In Brazil, situations can combine the duplication of patented molecules, the re-invention of chemical knowledge, the production of inventions derived from copying for public health priorities, the patenting of new pharmaceutical formulations or molecules either by private or public laboratories.

The workshop will be attentive to the forms of collective invention that support the application and production of this knowledge and that involve various organizations, including public- and private-sector pharmaceutical laboratories, biotechnology firms, institutions responsible for the protection and management of traditional knowledge, university laboratories, foundations and public/private consortiums interested in developing therapeutic innovations against so-called neglected diseases, traditional practitioners and clinicians, etc. The production, circulation and uses of new pharmaceutical knowledge raise essential if not unusual questions concerning intellectual property. Developments in Brazil and India are especially worth investigating since they explore new forms of public and citizen-based regulation of intellectual property, collective or public rights on traditional knowledge, and original systems of protection, pooling and circulation of therapeutic knowledge and products.

The workshop's aim is to map the variety of innovation practices in Brazil or India and contributions on any aspect of the production, invention and appropriation of pharmaceutical knowledge in these countries are welcomed.

Dates : 5-7 March 2012, Institute of Social Medicine, Rio de Janeiro State University