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Rather than proposals to reinvent the patent system, governments should work together with the pharmaceutical industry to address the urgent challenges of the current pandemic, Eli Lilly and Company patent attorney R. Craig Tucker said during the webinar ” Covid-19 and the impact on the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and patents “, promoted on 05/26, by ABPI – Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property. “We will focus on improvements to reduce system costs, which include optimization of regulatory approval, removal of unnecessary supply chain barriers, rational allocation strategies; removal of taxes and tariffs, etc. ”.

In his presentation – which counted on the participation of ABPI president, Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta, and the coordinators of the Biotechnology Studies Commission, Gabriela Salerno, Alex Gonçalves de Almeida, Ludmila Kawakami Ávila and Priscila De Barros Theresa – Craig emphasized that the Compulsory leave in cases of public health emergency is already included in the legislation of the TRIPS member countries, the treaty that is part of the set of agreements signed in 1994 that ended the Uruguay Round and created the World Trade Organization, to which Brazil is a signatory. “ABPI is conducting many efforts in the Brazilian Congress to clarify that we have a position related to Compulsory License, which does not need modification or a new law for this”, added the president of ABPI.

For Craig, solid intellectual property systems created and maintained a dynamic R&D ecosystem. As an example, he cited the “unprecedented” response from the patent system that, in just five months, since the pandemic began, has produced hundreds of lines of research. “We have approximately 400 treatments and potential vaccines under development,” he added. This system, he said, has allowed innovative pharmaceutical companies working with academia, private research institutes and national research laboratories to produce collaborative methods based on “fair negotiated licensing”.

According to Craig, voluntary patent pools are not the best way for compulsory licensing, which, on the contrary, must use existing mechanisms, connect with the industry and be able to adapt to specific challenges. “There will be more pandemics and we will need to adapt,” he said. For Lilly’s lawyer, the development of a patent licensing mechanism without consultation with manufacturers would not help achieve the goal of rapid distribution of new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. “In licensing situations, patent holders will need to be involved to help transfer the complex scientific and manufacturing knowledge needed to accelerate mass production and also to support essential functions, such as rapid post-market monitoring.”