News & CommentBrazil

Patent Law Closes Drug Loophole

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Science  17 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 945-946
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5264.945b


São Paulo—Brazil has finally adopted a new patent law that extends intellectual property protection to foods and pharmaceuticals, and hopes to end the widespread practice in which Brazilian laboratories copy patented drugs and sell them freely in Brazil—the world's sixth largest market for pharmaceuticals. Supporters say the new law should stimulate outside investment as well as build up a homegrown drug industry. But critics contend that it is likely in the short run to have the opposite effect—to drive commercially useful research offshore or into the hands of multinational companies because of the absence of local capacity.