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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


LOYOLA, Maria Andréa. Drugs, health policy and AIDS: changes in a dependent policy. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, suppl., pp.763-778. ISSN 1678-4561.

Since the 1970s the Brazilian government has made efforts to implement a pharmaceutical policy that, in spite of a market predominantly oligopolized and dominated by multinational pharmaceutical industries, guarantees access to essential drugs for the population. In this context, in 1999, a law regarding generics was approved. This article aims at analyzing the elements that interfered in the implementation process of this law. Based on specialized bibliography, on the debate in the Brazilian press (1992-2002) and on interviews with industry members, physicians, politicians, activists and civil servants we try to show that the implementation of generics in Brazil is strongly related to the AIDS epidemic. More precisely, it is related to the successful health policy against this disease involving different actors and a variety of elements to be analyzed here, among them the policy of copycat versions of drugs, the law of universal access to anti-AIDS drugs, the struggle of organized social movements, the governmental bureaucracy implemented for fighting this epidemic and the strong mobilization of the media.

Keywords : Pharmaceutical policy; Generic drugs; AIDS; Public health; Pharmaceutical industry; Patents.

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