A recent proposal by the Brazilian government to effectively privatize its patent office has alarmed patient advocates, who fear such a move would make it easier for the pharmaceutical industry to maintain monopolies on medicines and, consequently, higher prices in one of the world’s largest economies.
In its notice, the Ministry of Economy suggested merging the National Institute of Industrial Property, or INPI, which oversees patent reviews, with another government agency to form a new public-private sector entity called the Brazilian Agency for Development and Industrial Property, or ABDPI. The goal is to create “greater efficiencies,” according to the ministry notice.
However, such a move would likely allow industry to have a greater say in how patents are examined because the new entity would have an autonomous administration even as it works to serve the public, according to academic researchers tracking the development. For this reason, patient groups argue the government is essentially abdicating its role.