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After years of anticipation, the Brazilian Supreme Court is holding a hearing this week on a case that has pitted the pharmaceutical industry against consumer advocates over patent rights and the extent to which many prescription drugs are affordable.

At issue is the constitutionality of a provision in the country’s intellectual property law allowing lengthy extensions on patents. Currently, patents are protected for 20 years from the date that an application is filed, as well as another 10 years at the time a patent is granted. Moreover, the government can take 10 years or more to review patent applications.

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