Brazil to bypass patent on costly AIDS drug

Brazil to bypass patent on costly AIDS drug

Brazil claim that AIDS drug manufacturer is abusing its monopoly

Brazil's health minister announced last week (gone to press on the 23 Aug) that the government would break the patent of a leading anti-AIDS drug after its manufacturer, Hoffman-La Roche Inc., refused to lower its price to the level demanded by the government.

Brazilian law allows a patent to be overridden if the government claims the patent holder is abusing its monopoly or in cases of national emergency, as Brazil has categorised its AIDS epidemic.

Last week's dispute centers on Roche's drug Viracept, one of 12 drugs used by Brazil in an anti-AIDS cocktail dispensed free of charge to the nation's HIV-positive population, according to the Washington Post.