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Financial Times Examines How Brazil’s State-Run Drug Sector Is Engaging In Partnerships At Home, Abroad

“Dilma Rousseff had barely been confirmed as Brazil’s new president in November when she made her first foreign visit, to Mozambique,” which “included a symbolic stop-off at a pharmaceutical factory that is under construction in preparation for opening in 2014. … The plant will produce a range of medicines for one of its leading lusophone – Portuguese-speaking – African partners, marking the resurgent power and growing reach of its sponsor, Brazil’s own state-led drug sector,” the Financial Times writes in an article that examines the partnerships Brazil is establishing at home and abroad.

“The fledgling Mozambique plant also marks the rising influence of Farmanguinhos, the state-owned drug company that is part of the sprawling ‘health industrial complex’ of research and production facilities at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (Fiocruz) at the heart of Brazil’s own domestic drugs and vaccine sector,” the article notes. “The state-led complex’s future evolution poses challenges for Brazil’s health system and domestic producers, as well as for western companies increasingly eager to tap into the country’s fast-growing healthcare sector while navigating its complex political environment with care.”

The article traces the evolution of research and development in Brazil, including issues with drug patents and intellectual property, and examines the country’s ability to attract partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, including “domestic producers such as Ache and with multinationals including Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis [,] … GSK” and Pfizer. The piece examines some of the benefits and challenges associated with such partnerships, including the uncertainty about the future of such efforts when President Rousseff’s new government takes over in 2011. The article includes quotes from Carlos Gadelha of Fiocruz; Reinaldo Guimarães from Brazil’s ministry of health; Rogerio Ribeiro of GlaxoSmithKline; and outgoing Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao. An accompanying sidebar to the article offers tips on “how to make partnerships work” (Jack, 12/22).

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