Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Brazil Breaks Patent to Make AIDS Drug

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the life-before-dollars dept.

Patents 1041

Andy Tai writes: "In this CNN story, Brazil decides to break a patent over an AIDS drug for public benefits. Brazil will produce the drug domestically without agreements with patent holder, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche. Brazil's efforts to fight AIDS have been praised internationally, and it successfully prevented the US Government from bringing complaints in the WTO on behalf of the drugs industry. This may set an important example that public needs justify the disregard of patent protection." There's another article in the Boston Globe about the decision.

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp muthafuckahz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207526)

first post: its better than porn, first post, a troll is born!

fr1st ps0t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207527)

One more time. SFI SFI SFI. We 0wn this place.

anal expulsive prick (-1, Offtopic)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2207545)

o o
o o
o o
o o
ooooo ooooo
ooooo o o o
o o o o o oo
o o o o o o o
o o o o
o oo o
o o
o o
o o
o o

llew, ti skool ekil I deen erom drow rep enil. yltnerruc I evah 5.94117647058824 sdrow. yllufepoh sith lliw teg ti tsap sith wen noitcnuf ni eth ssenemal retlif. Sesuj dna Dog s'taht a doal fo hsiwej parc.

Re:anal expulsive prick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207563)

you misspelled 'siht' as 'sith'. jedi-freudian slip?

Way to fucking GO!! (2, Insightful)

pompomtom (90200) | about 13 years ago | (#2207534)

There's a time and a place for all this profit-minded patent shite.

AIDS ain't it!

Re:Way to fucking GO!! (-1, Flamebait)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2207615)

Tell me about it. AIDS should be allowed to propegate to all the undesirables so we can weed them out of the gene pool. This means you, you flaming homo's!

Re:Way to fucking GO!! (2)

Bonker (243350) | about 13 years ago | (#2207632)

I'll say amen to that.

It's funny how having world-threatening plagues will put your priorities in order, innit?

I hope everyone looks at this and makes the connection:

Patents == People Dying of AIDS

Re:Way to fucking GO!! (1)

codeforprofit2 (457961) | about 13 years ago | (#2207658)

"Patents == People Dying of AIDS"

No, patents == Possibility to put down billions in research and development to fight the decease.

Re:Way to fucking GO!! (1)

BoyPlankton (93817) | about 13 years ago | (#2207659)

It's a shame that without 'profit-minded patent shite' there's no incentive for companies to develop the drugs in the first place.

You can't stop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207537)

the gay plague from God.

Imagine that... (2)

briggsb (217215) | about 13 years ago | (#2207538)

How could it be in this day and age that lives are more important than money and intellectual property? I must have not woken up yet, and must still be in a dream world.

Lets keep dreaming for a while (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 13 years ago | (#2207586)

Maybe some day, a post like yours would be moderated down for being too damn obvious. Wouldn't that be beautiful? (nothing personal)

Re:Lets keep dreaming for a while (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | about 13 years ago | (#2207680)

"Maybe some day, a post like yours would be moderated down for being too damn obvious."

Personally, I'm hoping that some day it'll get modded down for missing the obvious fact that if people circumvent the intellectual property rights of drug companies, the result is less money for research, less new drugs, and ultimately less lives saved.

Re:Lets keep dreaming for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207709)

it wasn't as though brazil unilaterally decided, "hey, let's break international patents." the drug company had the opportunity to negotiate a reasonable payment scheme with the country and refused to do so. maybe it'll be a wakeup call to companies that they need to look beyond the bottom line of an accounting register.

Re:Imagine that... (-1, Troll)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2207637)

You severly overestimate the value of gay peoples lives. Deep down, normal heterosexual people don't care about faggots.

I'm not in denial about my apathy for the dying homo's. If I had to use only one word to describe my feelings for millions of dying homosexuals, it would be, "yawn".

Re:Imagine that... (1)

thetman (465742) | about 13 years ago | (#2207653)

Well, you'll find that if we continue stealing intellectual property from the drug companies, then they won't be too interested in developing these drugs in the first place, so then not only poor people won't be able to get a life saving drug, no one will be able to. A lot of slashdotters would consider this a good thing. Oh, just wait, the open source crew will step in and develop all the drugs we need for free, just like linux!.....Right.....

Re:Imagine that... (1)

briggsb (217215) | about 13 years ago | (#2207711)

I'm fully aware of the implications, but I have a feeling that it will always be profitable to make drugs that save people's lives.

But its done with Govt money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207664)

Did you know that the reason Brasil has one of the highest AIDS infrction rates that it is one of the most promiscuous countries on the face of the earth? Its bullshit that the government is foorting the bill for the people irresposnsible actions. Except in a few rare cases (blood transfusions, medical accidents) 99% of all HIV cases got that way from their own personal actions. No freaking way should the taxpayers have to pay for that. Those responsible should foot that bill,and if they can't foot it, let them die.

India, Brazil, China... half the planet already! (1)

CSC (31551) | about 13 years ago | (#2207548)

Things shape up on the "our money vs. their life" front.

Medicine has been corporate property for far too long already.

Re:India, Brazil, China... half the planet already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207627)

> Things shape up on the "our money vs. their life" front.
> Medicine has been corporate property for far too long already.

This is a wonderfully idealistic view of the world, but woefully out of touch with reality. Pharmacueticals are incredibly expensive to develop. If other countries follow Brazil, then you're cutting the financial backing for R&D. Say good-bye to most any hope for an AIDS cure, to mention nothing of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and a good number of other diseases. Sure, government-funded research will continue, but by destroying a pharmacuetical company's R&D budget, you'll be drastically slowing down the rate of medical innovation.

If countries truly care about fostering medical innovation AND providing care to those who need it, they would subsidize the cost of prescription medicines. Pharmaceutical companies would be able to recoup their huge R&D investments and patients would have access to low-cost medicine. But this would likely require raising taxes... and that's a whole other topic of discussion.

Example? (3, Insightful)

sllort (442574) | about 13 years ago | (#2207552)

"This may set an important example that public needs justify the disregard of patent protection"

It sets a few more examples, too. If you're an AIDS patient, it sets the example that you should fly to Brazil, right away. If you're a drug company, the example is to look into carpet bombing Brazil, and if that fails, stop developing drugs no one will ever pay you for.

Just because software patents are patents on math & therefore stupid doesn't mean all patents are stupid. Pharaceutical R&D is intensely expensive. Screwing the companies that fund research is a bad solution to what is at heart a political problem.

Re:Example? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 13 years ago | (#2207570)

Screwing the companies that fund research is a bad solution to what is at heart a political problem.

Ehmm, what exactly do you mean by that phrase? *What* is a political problem in your opinion?

Re:Example? (2, Insightful)

CSC (31551) | about 13 years ago | (#2207573)

Screwing the companies that fund research is a bad solution to what is at heart a political problem.

A political problem?

No. The political problem appears when Brazil decides that life is more important than the stock quotes in some other country far north.

Brazil thus transformed an ethical problem into a political problem. My opinion is, it's a net gain.

Re:Example? (1)

r1ch (166865) | about 13 years ago | (#2207587)

You make some good points, but what you're forgetting is that Brazil is an intensley poor country with a huge AIDS problem. They do not have the money to pay for the treatment and so the alternative is death. At the end of the day, IMHO, this will make virtually no difference to the drugs companies, but a massive difference to people's lives.

Re:Example? (1)

tommck (69750) | about 13 years ago | (#2207594)

  • I am not trying to take medication out of the hands of people who need it.
  • I am also not saying that the drug companies have been giving the drugs away at low, low prices.
  • I don't work for any drug companies.

I completely agree with this post. If everyone does this, it will have the effect of terminating drug research. If there's no money to be made after spending US$500 million researching something, then it won't be done! Then, we'll all die in the streets of Code Red XXV infection!

Re:Example? (2)

evilned (146392) | about 13 years ago | (#2207597)

Yes, drug R&D is intensly expensive, but a significant amount of that research cost in many cases is publicly funded. In those cases, I really dont think the drug companies should have the right to patent it. I'm all for private companies making a profit when its their money at risk, but corporate welfare has to stop sometime.

Re:Example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207646)

very little of actual drug testing is done with public money, most goes to actually reseaching the desease not curing it.

Re:Example? (1)

big_groo (237634) | about 13 years ago | (#2207602)

I agree, however, a great deal of money that goes into research comes from grants and bursaries from private organizations and *taxpayers*. What is the budget for AIDS research in the US alone? Did the company base their drug on any previous works done by public organizations?

I don't specifically agree with Brazil's decision but this is human life we're talking about. What's more important to you? Making the _big company_ a few more bucks, or preserving quality of life ? I personally think Brazil is going to get away with this one. If it were a cough medicine, or something more mainstream, then no. Other countries (read: Africa) will be sure to follow their example. In Africa people are dying of AIDS at an alarming rate.

This is an ethical debate. Not political.

Re:Example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207707)

Considering that a person carrying HIV having sex with another and NOT telling them about their infection is essentially assualt with a deadly weapon. In most cases could be considered submitting somebody to a long torturus death sentance. THe best thing would be to prosecute anybody spreading the virus intentionally and sentance them to death. That would be a quick way to end the HIV problem.

Re:Example? (3, Insightful)

kalifa (143176) | about 13 years ago | (#2207650)

> Just because software patents are patents on
> math & therefore stupid doesn't mean all patents
> are stupid. Pharaceutical R&D is intensely
> expensive. Screwing the companies that fund
> research is a bad solution to what is at heart a
> political problem.

There is some truth in this, however these companies would have more credibility if they did not spend much more on advertising, public relations, lobbying, sponsoring sports events, etc., than on research.

There is currently a bill which is about to be passed in the EU which would allow advertising on prescribed drugs, as it is already the case in the US. I hate this idea. It encourages overconsumption of drugs, it diverts billions and billions of dollars (or are they euros?) from more useful tasks, and it encourages pharmaceutical companies to focus on comfort-oriented drugs, made for wealthy retired in Florida or in the south of France, rather than on life-saving drugs.

Today, drug companies fight against each other with marketing, lobbying and politics: millions and millions are poured into "lobbying" (read: corrupting, but legally, the typical American way) drugs-regulation authorities, to make sure that competing drugs are not approved, or that the approval is delayed, to make sure that their exclusivity on a product is extended, etc...

Inventive, good-for-humanity research is secondary. These companies will be allowed to complain on what is going on in Brazil when they have changed their ways.

Re:Example? (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | about 13 years ago | (#2207681)

The pharmaceutical companies are hardly screwed. There was no guarantee that after they made the drug they'd get rich from epidemics in Brazil and Africa. Profits are not a *right* (something MPAA and RIAA are also having a hard time getting their heads around...they continually are going to Washington whining, "hey, it's not *fair*...we *expected* to make lots of money and now we're not, boohoo"). Anyway, patents are useful insofar as they benefit the society (and extended to international patents, the whole global society) as a whole. If some pharmaceutical makes less money because the global community decides that millions of lives are more important, guess what? - Tough shit for them. The benefit to society of saving millions of lives in this case far outweighs the benefit to a very few of making lots of money.

Re:Example? (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | about 13 years ago | (#2207706)

Oh, and by the way, if you conclude through extrapolation that the failure of pharmaceutical X to make lots of money because society decides there is a greater cause, immediately disincentivizes the whole industry (leading of course to the collapse of civilization as we know it...or something), I suggest you reexamine your assumptions about the motives for doing such work - for example, it's taken for granted that people *will* work without compensation on many things, e.g. Open Source software. In an extreme case, I'm sure the death of one given pharmaceutical company is not going to destroy the entire future of human research into pharmaceuticals.

Re:Example? (2)

why-is-it (318134) | about 13 years ago | (#2207683)

Pharaceutical R&D is intensely expensive. Screwing the companies that fund research is a bad solution to what is at heart a political problem.

How is AIDS a political problem?

And while R&D might be expensive, Big Pharma is still making coin hand over fist, and none of the drug companies are getting out of that industry because it is not financially viable

The issue is that Roche ( want to charge more for a few doses of drugs than people in third world countries can expect to make in a year. This is clearly unacceptable.

Re:Example? (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | about 13 years ago | (#2207685)

stop developing drugs no one will ever pay you for

or turn over pharmaceutical research duties to Universities. That way the Uni's can peruse research that leads to *HEALHTY PEOPLE* and not to simple economic-profit.

Pretty Fucking Simple(R)(TM) isnt it.

Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207712)

Sweden is one example of a country who tried to screw companies (with lontagarfonder and other un-honest criminal shit pulled off by the government), look where it got it. One massive, huge financial meltdown in the early 90's making each Swede with a debt of about $15 000.
The primary reason was that the companies (and their money) fleed the coounty) and not much taxes where payed anymore

You are ALWAYS held resonsible for what you do sooner or later. Sure it way seem to be good to take other peoples huge investment and give it away without paying for it right now but not many new investments will be made. That means no new solutions to cancer, parkinson and other deceases.

Not really nerd-worthy.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207559)

but I'm glad something finally has the balls to do this! Great story!

Now if only Africa and the U.S. would follow suit.

Of course they fight AIDS (-1, Troll)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2207564)

Their all such fucking homo's, half the population has AIDS. Why do you think 90% of all Brazilians in the US are illegal? Cause Uncle Sam needs to protect us Americans from the AIDS infestation from under us. It's like a storm but instead of carrying rain, it brings AIDS infested semen drops.

Re:Of course they fight AIDS (0)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2207679)

Sorry, I meant 'They're' not 'Their'. But was that a reason to mod me down to troll? Damn homo grammar-nazi mods....

fuck Brazil (-1, Offtopic)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2207566)


llew, ti skool ekil I deen erom drow rep enil. yltnerruc I evah 5.94117647058824 sdrow. yllufepoh sith lliw teg ti tsap sith wen noitcnuf ni eth ssenemal retlif. Sesuj dna Dog s'taht a doal fo hsiwej parc.

Its about time... (2)

tewwetruggur (253319) | about 13 years ago | (#2207571)

I'm glad to see common sense and the common good win over so-called IP rights. Too bad Roche seems to have missed the boat for a great philanthropic opportunity.

I hope that events such as this one will help some companies realize that there's more to business than just having a good IP portfolio.

So basically. (-1, Troll)

BiggestPOS (139071) | about 13 years ago | (#2207572)

[sarcasm]Breaking patents to save lives is ok, but opening an Adobe e-book without permission, well thats just wrong![/sarcasm]

I'm glad they're doing this, the swiss are bastards anyway, Nazi sympathizers.

how about the need to protects patents?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207574)

i'm sorry, but brazil is clearly in the wrong here.

What happened to the drug companies' rights?

If they don't receive royalties on their drugs, how are they going to support ongoing research?? What is Brazil doing to cure AIDS??

It looks like they just want to get something for nothing to me.

Public Needs... (1, Troll)

DJerman (12424) | about 13 years ago | (#2207575)

Bravo for Brazil! Unfortunately (?) no-one's life is at stake over one-click ordering (or any of the other stupid algorithm and business method patents). It's unlikely this will have any impact on US/European patent law.

Bullshit. (2, Flamebait)

FatSean (18753) | about 13 years ago | (#2207579)

I sincerely doubt all the AIDS cases in Brazil were caused by blood transfusion, or passed from mother to child. A high percentage of those infected became that way by choices they made in regard to sexual activity and sharing of needles. In this age of education, AIDS is generally acquired do to ignoring precautions. Ignorance is no answer.

Re:Bullshit. (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 13 years ago | (#2207616)

In this age of education, AIDS is generally acquired do to ignoring precautions. Ignorance is no answer.

I hate to kick you out of your Ivory Tower, but did you happen to notice that the level of education isn't equally high all around the world? Otoh, your post clearly demonstrates, so no point going into it any further. And aside from education, there is also this thing called religion, and unfortunately the dominant religion in Brasil is led by some sort of old guy who never had sex and who thinks rubbers are evil...

Re:Bullshit. (0)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2207669)

I hate to kick you in the face but did you happen to notice that this sentence containd no commas?

Re:Bullshit. (1)

Harbinjer (260165) | about 13 years ago | (#2207705)

And if people listened to the other things this "old guy" says, there wouldn't be nearly as many cases of AIDS. The Catholic church is against pre-marital sex as well, so if people actually followed that at all, the only way to get AIDS is a blodd transfusion or some kind of bloody accident...

Re:Bullshit. (1)

1001011010110101 (305349) | about 13 years ago | (#2207666)

Are you on acid or what?
The reason why they infected is not important, unless you believe that bullshit that AIDS is "God Revenge" for sinfull acts.
That doesn't change that international drug producers are milking as much as they can for a drug needed by many people to survive, many of which are in underdeveloped poor countries with little or no education on the subject.

What a fucking disaster (1)

Chris Hind (176717) | about 13 years ago | (#2207580)

I hope the Brazilian government gets bitchslapped by as many international bodies as possible for this. Quite apart from the fact that these drugs aren't designed to be used in the conditions found in Brazil (which will mean that strains of HIV resistant to this treatment will be produced there), they didn't pay for it, so they don't get to have it. Shit, it's not difficult for governments to raise funds for this kind of thing - ever heard of taxes?

Do governments want to pay for medicine to be developed? No.
Do governments want to reap the benefits of that medicine? Hell, yes.
Will this lead to more or less investment by the drug companies in medicines suitable for developing world use? Work it out for yourself.

Re:What a fucking disaster (1)

CSC (31551) | about 13 years ago | (#2207624)

Do governments want to pay for medicine to be developed? No.

Do governments want to reap the benefits of that medicine? Hell, yes.
So each and every country should re-invent the same thing over and over to please you?

Okay. So please build a new language, or pay for the use of English. After all you stole some other country's work.

Setting an excellent example (1)

James Foster (226728) | about 13 years ago | (#2207585)

How commendable.
Its quite disgusting that anyone actually patented such a thing in the first place. Human life is sacred and every life is worth more than all of the money in the world.
Then again, given the sick and twisted world of today, it would be quite naive to think that someone WOULDN'T patent such a thing.
Given all the money that is donated into research for medecines into diseases like AIDS, surely any organization that manages to create that medecine has been funded by the donations. Surely noone needs to profit off such a thing.

It's nice to see this patent being disregarded.

Re:Setting an excellent example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207630)

This isn't an example, they are not going to give this medicine away. They are going to charge for it, probobly the same if slightly less than Roche. They don't care about the people only the money. And since when has human life been worth anything, in most of the world life means very little, and when ever we go to war we make it even less so.

Re:Setting an excellent example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207684)

Life might be treated like it means nothing, but don't you think it's worth more than its given credit for?

It concerns me a little bit... (1)

Lobsang (255003) | about 13 years ago | (#2207595)

The attitude is correct IMHO. To hell with IP laws when human lifes are in danger. However, knowing Brazil from inside (as a Brazilian), I'd say money will only be shifted from the hands of the lawful IP holder to the hands of a few "selected" companies/people inside the country. Do not be fooled into thinking the people will have cheap access to these medications.

I truly hope I'm wrong.

Already discussed at WTO (1)

famazza (398147) | about 13 years ago | (#2207596)

WTO have already agreed with this politics not only in Brasil, but also in Africa. The problem is that Africans countries have no financial resources to build factories, but if they raise the money they also can break the patent.

WTO agreed with this because here in Brasil drugs AIDS are distributed for free (as beer) by the government, with no costs for carent families.

Brasil (yes, I prefer with the 's') will also export cheaper AIDS drugs to Africa and other poor countries.

Hope this help to end all the pain...

Re:Already discussed at WTO (0)

l33t j03 (222209) | about 13 years ago | (#2207643)

WTO agreed with this because here in Brasil drugs AIDS are distributed for free (as beer) by the government, with no costs for carent families.

You don't have a lick of economic sense do you son? To you, there are no costs associated with drugs distributed by the government. You're the reason why Napster's for-pay service would never work, why micropayments aren't feasible, why DVDs have to be encrypted. You are too foolish to realize that somewhere some cash has to change hands in order for damn near everything to exist.

Fucking dumbass.

Re:Already discussed at WTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207656)

Hey! South Africa had a series of well publicised law court confrontations with a bunch of medical companies recently over *exactly* this issue, with the med firms deciding to settle out of court, and SA being allowed to produce and deploy its own copy of the patented drug. And yes, they do have the finances and know-how to implement this (unless rascist attacks on whites has driven all those with technical know-how out already).

A problem that they are not going to solve, and which I bet also exists in South America is that effective treatment with these drugs requires *absolute* and *rigorous* control. You miss a couple of treatments, and you might as well not have begun treatment.

The ability to exercise this control over rural patients (and even urban ones) does not exist in Africa. Treatment with these drugs will fail, and may be harmful, as the virus may well develop immunity when exposed to lower / incorrect dosages.

Re:Already discussed at WTO (0, Offtopic)

fgn (200855) | about 13 years ago | (#2207661)

> Brasil (yes, I prefer with the 's')

And you would be wrong... Brazil in English is spelled with a 'Z' and in Portuguese with a 'S'.
As your post was in English...

Do you spell Italy as Italia? Germany as Deutschland?

Good News! (1)

L-Wave (515413) | about 13 years ago | (#2207598)

Finally! hearing news like this is great! sometimes it makes you wonder when people have patenets and jsut worry about moeny and PR, brazil is doing the right thing.

"Damn the man." -Empire Records

Finally. . . (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | about 13 years ago | (#2207599)

It is refershing to see that some people still care about people, and not just their security...greed. Props to the Brazilians who are spearheading this affair.

from the life-before-dollars dept (2, Informative)

jeffy124 (453342) | about 13 years ago | (#2207600)

I think it's good to see that there are some governments out there not looking out for corporate interests when it comes to a person's well being. While the Swiss company will probably sue out the wazoo against the government of Brazil for patent infringement, I beleive Brazil in this case has set an excellent precedent regarding patents on medicine that hold the potential to keep someone who is terminally ill from dying.

Brazil has also set many other precedents, including one that US (and the rest of the world) has to yet catch on with - clean emission alcohol powered cars [] . Unfortunately, because of who we have at 1600 Pennsylvania, I don't expect many of these to be around until after he leaves office.

Oh great. (1)

The G (7787) | about 13 years ago | (#2207601)

So, in another few years, world governments will be able to make whatever they want regardless of patents, while private citizen coders won't be able to write a line of code for fear of tripping over the patents that governments have even less reason than ever to regulate.

Governments and corps in a spat. Oh boy. Whichever way you cut it, the civilians lose.

Re:Oh great. (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 13 years ago | (#2207674)

Somehow the fact that you're comparing Aids-drugs and lines of code concerns me. I prescribe a two week cure of real-life experiences. Go walk in town or something...

This is not a good trend to cheer. (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | about 13 years ago | (#2207603)

There are a few reasons this is a bad trend. Now they are using a public health problem as an excuse to void a valid international patent because they did not get the agreement they wanted. This plays very well in the press, "bad evil company would rather see people die than sell their stuff cheaper" instead of saying "country refuses to pay a fair price for drugs to save its own people"

Want a story that is similar, but on a more "person" level. White farmers losing their property in Zimbabwe, because its not fair that they have it.

This is the new trend, government are going to take what they want and justify it in any shape or form. While they start off doing this with the cover of "saving lives" how long before it becomes anything they want?

So here are some of the real problems.

1. Basically Brazil breaks the agreed internation law and makes the stuff for free, thereby forcing other nations to either follow their example of pay the difference. (see South Africa's example - do it or we take your companies assests)

2. Reduces the possibility of region specific drugs NOT being developed because companies rightfully fear losing all investment. (some diseases are more prevalent in certain areas of the world - that is an obvious statement).

3. Raises spectre of loss of intellectual property on other levels, and more and more are confiscated for the "public good"

4. Increases the likelyhood of similar industries leaving "hostile" countries furthering the problem that country faces.

When do we stop? Who can judge what is a fair price for something? Who can judge what can fairly be patented?

Apparently people are willing to allow those with the guns to do it, and not realize its the first step to losing their own rights.

Re:This is not a good trend to cheer. (2)

Rupert (28001) | about 13 years ago | (#2207672)

If the drug companies were charging a fair price, this action wouldn't have been necessary.

The Brazilians are making the drugs themseleves. They are covering all the equipment, raw materials and labor. What they aren't doing is paying the exorbitant patent licencing fees, that are decided, rather like college tuition, based on how much you can afford and then some.

Yes, the drug companies need to recover their costs (and make a profit). An AIDS treatment will sell like hot cakes right up until a cure is discovered. Moderate, non-prejudicial licence fees will give them that. What it won't do is please the stockholders of the drug companies who bought in at a price that makes the dotcom bubble look sane, and now expect returns.

Re:This is not a good trend to cheer. (1)

hanwen (8589) | about 13 years ago | (#2207691)

with the cover of "saving lives"

How can saving life be a "cover"? And what if it were?

Get back to reality; people are dying here, and this is what can save them. How can there be any argument for not helping them?

Re:This is not a good trend to cheer. (1, Flamebait)

HEbGb (6544) | about 13 years ago | (#2207708)

The clear argument is, that it is wrong to steal, even if it saves someone's life. Period.

The Brazilians are crooks for doing this, plain and simple.

Re:This is not a good trend to cheer. (1)

CSC (31551) | about 13 years ago | (#2207710)

Want a story that is similar, but on a more "person" level. White farmers losing their property in Zimbabwe, because its not fair that they have it.

This is the new trend, government are going to take what they want and justify it in any shape or form. While they start off doing this with the cover of "saving lives" how long before it becomes anything they want?

Uh, why do I think of Native Americans when I read this?

Once more the attitude is "do as we say, don't do as we do".

2. Reduces the possibility of region specific drugs NOT being developed because companies rightfully fear losing all investment. (some diseases are more prevalent in certain areas of the world - that is an obvious statement).
It's already that way: the only region specific drugs are for rich regions. So, anyway, the third-world doesn't get anything from this research.
When do we stop? Who can judge what is a fair price for something? Who can judge what can fairly be patented?
Looks like you just decided that you hold The Truth.

Money vs. Life (1)

Psion (2244) | about 13 years ago | (#2207611)

It's really easy to fall into the trap of justifying this theft as necessary to save lives, but the pharmaceuticals that worked on these products are now being deprived of money from these countries that would pay for the research that went into the product. Look, the expense of the research and regulatory compliance to create a new drug doesn't go away when the drug comes to sometimes takes years for a pharmaceutical company to actually make a profit. With the actions of countries like Brazil, that payback will now take longer.

I wonder how the looters will get other life-saving wonder-drugs when they've driven the big research companies out of business?

*sigh* (3, Insightful)

omarius (52253) | about 13 years ago | (#2207612)

This should make sick every one of you that has a Free* bone in their body. Drugs are inventions, as much as gadgets are inventions, and this is IP theft, plain and simple. If I spent a fortune researching and creating a drug, you bet I would be pissed if someone else started making my drug without my permission.

I like the idea of saving people, and it would be hard to sanction or punish Brazil for doing this -- since the rest of the world would boo us off the planet. But this is wrong, people. Hell, in the long run, education will save a lot more people than this drug. This drug will not make Brazillians stop fucking each other or sharing needles or whatever it is that Brazillians do to get AIDS.

But instead of educating and changing killer lifestyle habits, their government steals IP. This world is going to shit. But that's just MHO.

And to be off topic for a second, those moderators who disagree with me may feel free to moderate me down as a troll for having an opinion (since that's what happened the last time I posted) -- but that won't make me less right. ;)

*as in Libertarian free, not social-welfare-state free. >;)

Re:*sigh* (2)

cybrthng (22291) | about 13 years ago | (#2207686)

I have to agree, there is a time and place for IP, but aids isn't that place.

If you lived in a population where aids is of epidemic proportions but it costs so much to get vaccinated what would you do? Die so another company can profit?

Sure the government should have licensed the medication, but on the other hand, the profiteering and money grubbing developers should have provided for brazil long before they needed to make this stance.

Its ironic how we think IP in technology is different then IP in medicine. Why is it right for people to patent vacinations that could save your life, but it isn't right for someone to patent an interface that has no position of life or death?

You know, the likely response is going to be. . . (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 13 years ago | (#2207700)

. . . going TOTALLY private with the IP. And filling the pills with lots of wild-tangent-generating substances to send copycats off on multiple directions... Or worse still, finding a way to COPY-PROTECT a pill. . .

Concept: I see a capsule, that if broken open or exposed to air, would chemically change the contents. Is it possible ? I have no idea. Will the Pharmaceutical Companies look ? That's a sucker bet: they're probably ALREADY looking at it. . .

Nice job, Brazil. You may have won this battle, but you just lost the war. . .

Looks like Brazil figured out what nobody else can (1)

Uttles (324447) | about 13 years ago | (#2207618)

To hell with the drug companies. That's what Brazil said. You know why? They have figured out the drug companies' scheme. Whoever it is that makes these drugs, they're just like all the other companies that make drugs for all the other diseases: rather than make drugs that could cure or prevent HIV, they just make a drug that will let you live with the ailment. Think about it: how many times would you take a vaccine or a cure? Once? For a period of a few weeks? Now think about how many times you take medicine that lets you live another month... you take it all the time, for the rest of your life! So basically they're acting just like a bunch of drug dealers. How does a drug dealer make money? On the come-back.

So Brazil realized that like a bunch of heartless gangsters the drug companies' are selling these high priced HIV pills to dying people so that they can live to pay another drug bill. However in this case, it was Brazil that was footing the bill, so they said to hell with it, we're making our own damn drugs. Well, way to go Brazil! I hope other countries wake up and take similar action.

Solidarity for Brazilians (1)

SubtleNuance (184325) | about 13 years ago | (#2207623)

Congratulations Brazil. Your government, and people should be given a great thanks from the rest of us - YOU have finally started standing up to these capitalist whores.

Come to Washington, D.C., Sept. 28th, to Demand that the Governments of the rest of the planet start ruling on behalf of their citizens as well. []

Bravo Brazil!

No More AIDS Drugs, I Guess (1)

splattertrousers (35245) | about 13 years ago | (#2207625)

Now that nobody is paying for AIDS drugs (Brazil isn't the first country to ignore the patents), what incentive do drug companies have to spend the money to develop new ones?

And before you say "to help sick people", let me ask this: how many people do you think would donate money to pharmaceutical companies for research? Many people think they are just greedy evil companies out to steal money from poor sick people.

Drugs for Profit (3, Insightful)

cd-w (78145) | about 13 years ago | (#2207626)

While I hate to side with the large drug companies on such a sensitive issue:

It is a fact of life that if the drug companies do not get paid for their R&D, then they will not bother to produce new drugs for combating AIDS and similar diseases.

As proof of this, consider how many new Malaria drugs are produced? Basically, there is no profit in R&D for malaria, so drug companies simply don't bother.

So, in the short-term this may seem like a good idea, but in the long term it could do serious damage to the search for an AIDS cure.

Re:Drugs for Profit (1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | about 13 years ago | (#2207654)

Perhaps patent protection is too lengthy in this case. While I agree with you, companies need to get paid for R&D, perhaps current law (17 years?) is too long a term. AIDS has been a problem for quite a while now, and better effort is needed to stem the spread of the disease.

We still need patent protection, just shorter terms.

Aid companies (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | about 13 years ago | (#2207628)

Really are the scum of the universe.

This is the kind of information that should be free. What if someone were to decide to patent the AIDS bug ? If you were to be infected with it, could you be charged for violating their IP and therefore have no alternative but to buy the cure off them ?

Maybe this is a viable business plan that I should attempt !

three cheers for brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207636)

i think more countries should follow suite. i'm really getting sick of commercialism when it's placed before human rights.

finally official (1)

jpostel (114922) | about 13 years ago | (#2207638)

This was predicted several months ago in the pharmaceutical industry. They are even MORE concerned about this happening in countries in Africa. The countries that have the highest rates of AIDS will likely start manufacturing and distributing drugs to not only people in their own country but to other countries as well.

I doubt that it will hurt their profits in the short term because they don't sell huge amounts of the drugs in the poorer countries anyway, but it sets a (dangerous) precedent for other countries to follow. The point that some people seem to miss is that if they fail to adequately QA the drugs, most of the people will die anyway. Making drugs is not as simple as getting a formula and mixing up the igredients. This is not baking cookies.

The Brazilian government needs to look at addressing problem by preventing new cases of HIV also. They need to promote safe sex and maybe start distributing condoms and disposable syringes or something.

Either way, this is a sad situation.

Whoa, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207641)

This must be the biggest nation-scale "fuck you" to another big entity (without a war) I've seen in a long time...

Are you for real? (1)

codeforprofit2 (457961) | about 13 years ago | (#2207647)

"...important example that public needs justify the disregard of patent protection."

If patents can't be enforced we will not see much more research&development for deceases.

Do you have any idea at all what the development costs are for this kind of medicines?

Patents as a concept is very important for all economies all over the world and should not be confused with the abuse of patents in the US where to broad and/or to obvious patents are granted.

Difficult... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | about 13 years ago | (#2207649)

Well, nobody can fault you for trying to save your life, that's for sure. So I can understand the Brazilian government (and others in the same position). Obviously it's not right to prevent someone needing a drug from getting access to it.

On the other hand, developing a new drug costs extraordinary amounts of money, the companies who are in the business of making them deserve their reward, too. Someone needs to pay the bill, it's not entirely fair to stick these companies with it. After all, the work they do there is very valuable. There is also the danger, that that loss of profits would decrease the effort which goes into AIDS research.

It would be nice if some developed countries would be prepared to finance part of the drug costs - obviously the pharmaceutical companies would have to be expected to be reasonable in their demands, too.

Here's my complaint about drug patents (1)

Microsift (223381) | about 13 years ago | (#2207651)

Drug patents delay innovation. Consider Prozac, a drug which help revolutionize the treatment of depression. Recently, the company's patent expired, opening the way for cheaper generics. If you've been watching those annoying drug company ads on TV, you may have seen an ad for a Prozac that can be taken just once a week. This drug would have a new patent, that will expire in several years. It seems too great a coincidence that as the company's patent for a drug was expiring, they finally figured out how to make the drug more convenient to take.

Given that some people who need to be on Prozac may not be able to remember to take the drug every day (at least initially) it seeems immoral for the company to delay the introduction of Prozac Weekly until the original patent expires, this may have actually harmed people!

Drug companies should have an opportunity to recoup the cost of research, but the cost of this opportunity should not be the health of patients.

Say bye-bye to any new AIDS drugs (3, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | about 13 years ago | (#2207663)

Well, that's probably going to be it as far as new drugs in the fight against AIDS. Drugs cost millions (billions?) to develop and test and distribute. If other companies are going to allow these patents to be violated, there's virtually no incentive for drug companies to develop any new drugs to fight AIDS. So yeah, Brazil and other countries who adopt this tactic may get some short term gains, but long term, it's going to kill AIDS patients. Literally.

Good! (1)

Neorej (398404) | about 13 years ago | (#2207665)

Break all this patent crap, this is for the good of everyone, finally a government thats acting sensible. I can understand people or companies want to get credited for the work they did but this shouldnt be taken too far.

It might be an idea to have the United Nations give the company (that holds the patents) large sums of money in order to stimulate further research in the field. That way they'll be happier too.

Now all we have to wait for is a government that states Shell (or whowuzzit) can shove those patents for the water powered engine up their **** because they're going to ignore them anyway.

Save money, not necessarily lives (1)

SuperBigO (134556) | about 13 years ago | (#2207668)

According to the article, the motivation for breaking the patent is to save the government money (40% of $82 million) and not necessarily to save lives. The government was getting all the medication it needed, but wanted to pay a lower price.

In Brazil, the government provides free treatment for AIDS/HIV infected people.

I think that this sets a bad precedent and should not be applauded. I see it the same as the government seizing the property (Intellectual Property in this case) of a Corporation for what they claim is a public benefit.

They could seize the property of any company or individual and say that it would be in the public's interest because it saved them some money or because the individual or company did not do what the dgovernment wanted them to do.

This is the way that dictatorships starts and individuals and corporations lose their rights: with the government abusing their police power and the citizens supporting it because it helps their pocketbook.

Re:Save money, not necessarily lives (1)

Trinidad_T_Tobago (311951) | about 13 years ago | (#2207696)

THink on this side.
YOU are a HIV holder.
YOU have NO money.
YOUR country have no money.
Roche say : sorry.

Put this shoes and walk a light year.

This is not good (1)

mESSDan (302670) | about 13 years ago | (#2207670)

This sets a very unhealthy (no pun intended) precedent for Drug companies. If this is not met with swift legal action, this will not stop with Brazil.

I can see this as being very difficult to persue, with the US dropping its suit with the WTO and the UN praising Brazil for its "Free Drug" policy.

I guess one thing is for sure, it sure does suck to be Roche right now.

The Dark Ages (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 13 years ago | (#2207671)

I wonder what would have happened in the 14th - 15th century if some had a cure for the black death, but wanted insane amounts of money to even talk about it. They would have probably tortured it out of them. Pharmacutical companies should consider themselves lucky....


Thats nice, but . . .. (1)

utdpenguin (413984) | about 13 years ago | (#2207678)

Veyr nice and all you can be sure.

But why the hell was my story abotu the new Code Red Mountain Dew slurpies at 7-11 rejected?? they rule!!

Jewish and proud (-1, Offtopic)

Bilton (517325) | about 13 years ago | (#2207688)

o o oo
oo oo
oo oo
oo oo
oooooooooo oooooooooo
oooooooo oooooooo
ooooooo ooooooo
ooooooo ooooooo
oooo oooo
oooo oooo
oo oo
oo oo
oo oo
oo oo

Well, it looks like I need more word per line. Currently I have 5.94117647058824 words. Hopefully this will get it past this new function in the lameness filter. Jesus and god that's a load of jewish crap.

Patents over human life? (1)

jlemmerer (242376) | about 13 years ago | (#2207689)

Hi Everybody..

IMHO patents on medicine should generally be forbidden. I am of the opinion that human life should be protected by all means possible and it is no moral justification that companys make more money on the cost of patenting (and by doing so killing) people.
Of course the pharma producers must earn money, but to withhold vital medicine from dying people because of money is sick.

go on Brazil... hopefully other countrys will follow.!

AIDS is not an indiscriminate killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2207692)

The fact is that people that have AIDS have it as a result of immoral behaviour. The progression and impact of such diseases is a form of natural selection. Natural selection has moved beyond fitness/strength. We are now in the realms of a natural selection based on intellect and morality. If you lead a moral life and do not abuse your God given body and mind, then you have nothing to fear. Simply avoid drugs, gay sex and others that participate in such activities. We will inherit the Earth.

This is a very shortsighted move (1)

CptSpiffy (517337) | about 13 years ago | (#2207693)

Many of you may feel that Brazil is doing the right thing here, and I must admit to a certain satisfaction as well, but there is more to this issue than "life is sacred, you can't put a price on it, etc.." These companies spend BILLIONS developing these drugs. What fuels this research? PROFIT. Helping people is great, but these companies are in BUSINESS. If governments simply start TAKING them, then what is the incentive to research new drugs? Don't discount the importance of this decision; if other countries try to follow Brazil's lead with this, you WILL see a reduction in new developments in private AIDS research. This already happened with malaria drug research, so there is a precedent. Personally, I hope the WTO comes down on Brazil like the Wrath of God, to discourage other countries from attempting this. This kind of short-sighted move is the kind of thing that critically slows down drug research. Like most of you, I beleive protecting it's people is the most important goal for a government.. but with millions dying anually fron this disease, can we afford to delay a cure? Capitalism is a dirty business, but it's the reality of the world we live in.

excuse my stereotypical ignorance (1)

Lord Omlette (124579) | about 13 years ago | (#2207695)

Doesn't Brazil have a high AIDS rate because the men are too macho to use condoms and the women won't insist on it? I think if they can change that, they have a shot at containing the problem which would make AIDS drugs that much more effective... Otherwise it's like trying to use water to put out a fire while someone else is pouring gasoline on it or something.

A few points (2)

Remote (140616) | about 13 years ago | (#2207697)

After reading a few posts stating that there's the danger of such actions disencouraging research, I would like to add:

- The law says that the gov't can issue a compulsory license, which doesn't mean public domain or copying the process for free, but gives the power to the state to set the terms of the license. This is consistent with a constitutional principle that public (not gov't!) weel-being is more important than the weel-being of a few individuals.

- The law also sets a period after which this compulsory licensing can be done. I'm not sure whether it's 2 or 3 years, but should aloow for a reasonable pay-bak period.

- According to the Boston Globe article, a ptient in Brazil costs US$ 350.00, while the same tratment costs US$ 10,000.00 in the US. Clearly, there's plenty of margin for cutting.

Other few points people maybe should be aware of:

- Health Minister José Serra most definitely has an eye in next year presidential elections.

- It is illegal for individuals and private companies in Brazil to trade AIDS medicine, except for selling to the gov't. My brother died of AIDS in 97 and my mother ended up with a big supplt of DDI, which she returned to the health service. She would have done that anyway, but imagine the kind of abuse that would take place if you could obtain medication for free and trade it.

Capitalist pigs or unrealistic socialists? (1)

nihilvt (212452) | about 13 years ago | (#2207701)

This is all well and good, but before we start heralding this great advance against capitalist pigs we need to watch out. I think decision displays the best of intentions. But what does this mean for future advances in medications for crippling diseases? Those diseases and medications cost INCREDIBLE amounts of money to research. What happens if a company fears that it cannot recoup the money invested in R&D? No more research on these diseases. Longer R&D cycles. Less efficiency. Less incentive. No more new helpful medications. It's a hard decision. Do you want relief immediately, or more effective relief later? Do the ends justify the means? I don't know. But I don't want a stagnation in medical advances because everyone starts to decide they can ignore patents.

disregard for patent laws prevent new drugs (1)

Pov (248300) | about 13 years ago | (#2207702)

Sure, what Brazil is doing sounds like a great and humane thing to do for all those suffering from AIDS without enough money to pay for drug treatment, but consider what the long-term effects of this are. If you eliminate the profit of selling the AIDS drugs, then the companies that spend millions and millions of dollars on research and development will stop doing it.

Where do you think they're going to get the money to research a cure or a vaccine if they can't sell what they've got now?

This may be great for the people currently suffering from AIDS in Brazil, but it's a tragedy for those who will suffer in the future and across the whole world if the money they're leaching might have contributed to a cure or a vaccine.

Easy resolution (1, Troll)

Wolfier (94144) | about 13 years ago | (#2207714)

Lower your prices, or we'll use 10% of our AIDS budget to send people to your country and have sex with your people. Hehe
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>