Intellectual Property for Pharmaceuticals and Plant Genetic Resources in Brazil

  • Valbona Muzaka
Part of the Building a Sustainable Political Economy: SPERI Research & Policy book series (SPERIRP)


Brazil’s embrace of the ‘information society’ and ‘knowledge economy’ project is located in the tumultuous period that followed the debt crisis and the fall of the military regime in the mid-1980s. As Brazil’s economic performance improved during the first decade of the new century, the vision of Brazil as the most advanced technological and environmental power of the new century came to orient state activities more purposefully, including those related to reforming the domestic IP system. As in India, these efforts were met with strong resistance by civil society groups and conflicts over IP in the pharmaceutical and agro-biotechnology sector are still ongoing. The second part of the chapter analyses some key conflicts and turning points, once again focusing on the role of the state and some of their most visible consequences until now.


The natural knowledge economy Healthcare sector (SUS) EMBRAPA GM seeds Agribusiness 


  1. Ackerman, F. 1971. Industry and Imperialism in Brazil. Review of Radical Political Economics 3: 1–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biehl, J. 2004. The Activist State: Global Pharmaceuticals, AIDS and Citizenship in Brazil. Social Text 22 (3): 105–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BioMinas. 2011. The Brazilian Life Science Industry: Pathways for Growth. Report available at Accessed 20 September 2016.
  4. Bound, K. 2008. Brazil: The Natural Knowledge Economy. London: Demos.Google Scholar
  5. Caliari, T., and R.M. Ruiz. 2014. Brazilian Pharmaceutical Industry and Generic Drugs Policy: Impacts on Structure and Innovation and Recent Developments. Science and Public Policy 41 (2): 245–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carvalho, J.M. 2000. Dreams Come Untrue. Daedalus 129 (2): 57–82.Google Scholar
  7. Cassiolato, J.E., and H. Schmitz, eds. 1992. Hi-Tech for Industrial Development: Lessons from the Brazilian Experience in Electronics and Automation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Cassiolato, J.E., G.F. Zucoloto, M.S. Rapini, and S.G.A. Souza. 2011. The Recent Evolution of the Biotech Local Innovation System of Minas Gerais: University, Local Firms and Transnational Corporations. In Biotechnology and Innovations Systems: The Role of Public Policy, ed. B. Göransson and C.M. Pålsson, 13–57. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  9. Cassiolato, J.E., G. Zucoloto, R. Molagres, and F. Stalliveiri. 2014. Transnational Corporations and the Brazilian National System of Innovation. In Transnational Corporations and Local Innovation, ed. J.E. Cassiolato, G. Zucoloto, D. Abrol, and L. Xielin, 68–132. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Cederlöf, G., and K. Sivaramakrishnan. 2006. Ecological Nationalisms: Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cesarino, L., and N. Luna. 2011. The Embryo Research Debate in Brazil: From the National Congress to the Federal Supreme Court. Social Studies of Science 41 (2): 227–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chamas, C.I., S. Paulino de Carvalho, and S. Salles-Filho. 2007. Current Issues of IP Management in Health and Agriculture in Brazil. In Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices, ed. A. Krattiger, R.T. Mahoney, L. Nelsen, et al., 1563–1575. Oxford: MIHR.Google Scholar
  13. Conklin, B.A. 2002. Shamans Versus Pirates in the Amazonian Treasure Chest. American Anthropologist 104 (4): 1050–1061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Correa, M., P. Villardi, and P. Villela 2014. Pharmaceuticals and Public Health in Brazil: Copying Essential Drugs, Knowledge Acquisition and Innovation Projects in Public-Private Industrial Networks. Unpublished draft, in file with author.Google Scholar
  15. Coutinho, L.G. 2003. Macroeconomic Regimes and Business Strategies: An Alternative Industrial Policy for Brazil in the Wake of the 21st Century. In System of Innovation and Development: Evidence from Brazil, ed. M.L. Maciel. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  16. Coutinho, M., R.L.M. Silva, and M.A. Marin. 2001. Biodiversity and Public Policy Issues in Development: Brazil as a Case Study. Paper Presented at the International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, Annual Meeting, Hamden, USA.Google Scholar
  17. Cunha, J. 2015. Farmacêuticas Brasileiras Compram Empresas No Exterior por Inovação. Folha de S.Paolo. Available at Accessed 20 September 2016.
  18. Cunha, M.C., and M. Almeida. 2000. “Indigenous People, Traditional People and Conservation in the Amazon,” in Brazil: Burden of the Past, Promise of the Future. Journal of the American Academy of Sciences 129 (2): 315–338.Google Scholar
  19. Daniel, G.R. 2014. Machado de Assis and Brazilian Literary Independence: Toward a Postcolonial National Aesthetic. Machado de Assis Em Linha 7 (14): 163–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Das, A.N. 1994. Brazil and India: Comparing Notes on Liberalisation. Economic and Political Weekly 29 (8): 416–419.Google Scholar
  21. Drahos, Peter. 2010. The Global Governance of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Drèze, J., and A. Sen. 1989. Hunger and Public Action. Oxford: Oxford University.Google Scholar
  23. Eimer, T.R., S. Lütz, and V. Verena Schüren. 2016. Varieties of Localization: International Norms and the Commodification of Knowledge in India and Brazil. Review of International Political Economy 23 (3): 450–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evans, P. 1979. Dependent Development: the Alliance of Multinational, State and Local Capital in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Feijo, C.A., and M.T. Lamonica. 2010. The Importance of the Manufacturing Sector for Brazilian Economic Development. CEPAL Review 102: 7–26.Google Scholar
  26. FHC (Fernando Henrique Cardoso). 2000. Discurso do presidente da República na cerimônia de apresentação do “Avança Brasil”: Plano Plurianual 2000/2003 e do Orçamento da União para o ano 2000, Palácio do Planalto, Brasília. Available at Accessed 22 September 2016.
  27. ———. 2002. O Brasil a caminho da sociedade do conhecimento. In O Brasil e a Economia do Conhecimento, ed. J.P. Velloso. Rio de Janeiro: J. Olympio.Google Scholar
  28. Filoche, G. 2012. Biodiversity Fetishism and Biotechnology Promises in Brazil: From Policy Contradictions to Legal Adjustments. The Journal of World Intellectual Property 15 (2): 133–154.Google Scholar
  29. Filomeno, F. 2013. State Capacity and IP Regimes: Lessons from South American Soybean Agriculture. Technology in Society 35: 139–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. ———. 2014a. Monsanto and Intellectual Property in South America. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. ———. 2014b. Patterns of Rule-Making and Intellectual Property Regimes. Comparative Politics 46 (4): 439–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fleury, S. 2014. Building Democracy in an Emerging Society: Challenges of the Welfare State in Brazil. In Brazil Emerging: Inequality and Emancipation, ed. J.N. Pieterse and A. Cardoso, 11–31. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Flynn, M. 2011. Corporate Power and State Resistance: Brazil’s Use of TRIPS Flexibilities. In Intellectual Property, Pharmaceuticals and Public Health: Access to Drugs in Developing Countries, ed. K. Shadlen, 149–177. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 2013. Origins and Limitations of State-based Advocacy: Brazil’s AIDS Treatment Program and Global Power Dynamics. Politics and Society 41 (1): 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Furlan, L.F., A. Álvares, L.C.G. Pinto, and S. Rezende. 2006. Futuro Certo e Promissor da Biotecnologia. Folha de São Paulo, June 23.Google Scholar
  36. Furtado, C. 1992. Brasil: A Construção Interrompida. São Paolo: Paz e Terra.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 1997. Obra Autobiográfica de Celso Furtado. São Paolo: Paz e Terra.Google Scholar
  38. Gadelha, C.A.G., L.S. Costa, J.M.S.V. Maldonado, and M.A. Vargas. 2013. The Healthcare Economic-Industrial Complex: Concepts and General Characteristics. Health 5 (10): 1607–1621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Galvão, J. 2000. A AIDS No Brasil: A Agenda de Construção de Uma Epidemia. São Paulo: Editora 34.Google Scholar
  40. Garfield, S. 2013. In Search of the Amazon: Brazil, the United States and the Nature of a Region. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gereffi, G. 1983. The Pharmaceutical Industry and Dependency in the Third World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. GFB (Grupo Farma Brasil). 2014. The Rise of a National Biopharmaceutical Industry in Brazil: Consolidation, Trends and Challenges. Available at Accessed 21 September 2016.
  43. Gontijo, C. 2005. Changing the Patent System: From the Paris Convention to the TRIPS Agreement. Global Issue Paper No. 26, The Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin.Google Scholar
  44. Gosain, R. 2007. In Good Health? Compulsory Licenses. Patent World 194: 21–30.Google Scholar
  45. Gouvea, R., and S. Kassicieh. 2005. Using Resources in R&D Policy Planning: Brazil, the Amazon and Biotechnology. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 72: 535–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gross, R. 2014. National Study on ABS Implementation in Brazil. The ABS Capacity Development Initiative and the Government of Brazil. Available at Accessed 25 January 2017.
  47. Harvey, M., and A. McMeekin. 2005. Brazilian Genomics and Bioinformatics: Instituting New Innovation Pathways in a Global Context. Economy and Society 34 (4): 634–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hurrell, A. 2005. The United States and Brazil: Some Comparative Reflections. In The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations, ed. M. Hirst, 75–90. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Izique, C. 2002. Actions Against Biopiracy. Revista Pesquisa FAPESP, June Issue. Available at Accessed 22 September 2016.
  50. James, C. 2015. 20th Anniversary (1996 to 2015) of the Global Commercialization of Biotech Crops and Biotech Crop Highlights in 2015. ISAAA Brief No. 51. Available at Accessed 6 June 2016.
  51. Jepson, W.E. 2002. Globalization and Brazilian Biosafety: The Politics of Scale Over Biotechnology Governance. Political Geography 21: 905–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Jepson, W.E., C. Brannstrom, and R.S. de Souza. 2008. Brazilian Biotechnology Governance: Consensus and Conflict Over Genetically Modified Crops. In Food For the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America, ed. G. Otero, 217–242. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  53. Keck, M. 2002. Amazônia in Environmental Politics. In Environment and Security in the Amazon Basin, ed. J.S. Tulchin and H.A. Golding, 31–52. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.Google Scholar
  54. Koeller, P., and J.E. Cassiolato. 2009. Achievements and Shortcomings of Brazil’s Innovation Policies. In BRICS and Development Alternatives: Innovation Systems and Policies, ed. J.E. Cassiolato and V. Vitorino, 35–71. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  55. Koeller, P., and J.L. Gordon. 2013. Brazil. In The State and the National System of Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of the BRICS Economies, ed. M. Scerri and H.M.M. Lasters, 23–79. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Kohli, A. 2004. State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kolk, A. 1996. Forests in International Environmental Politics: International Organisations, NGOs, and the Brazilian Amazon. Utrecht: International Books.Google Scholar
  58. Lamounier, B. 1989. Brazil; Inequality Against Democracy. In Democracy in Developing Countries, ed. L. Diamond et al., vol. 4. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publisher.Google Scholar
  59. Lastres, H.M.M., J.E. Cassiolato, and M.L. Maciel. 2003. Systems of Innovation for Development in the Knowledge Era. In Systems of Innovation and Development, ed. J.E. Cassiolato, H.M.M. Lastres, and M.L. Maciel, 1–32. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  60. Leamon, A., and J. Lerner. 2012. Creating a Venture Ecosystem in Brazil: FINEP’s INOVAR Project. Working Paper 12-099, May 8, 2012, Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  61. Leiva, F.I. 2008. Latin American Neostructuralism: The Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  62. Leubolt, B. 2014. Social Policies and Redistribution in Brazil. Working Paper No. 26. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  63. Lula (Luiz Inácio da Silva). 2007. Discurso do Presidente da República, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, na cerimônia de lançamento da Política de Biotecnologia, Palácio do Planalto, Brasília, 08 de fevereiro de 2007. Available at
  64. Marques, M.B. 1999. Gestão, planejamento e avaliação de políticas de ciência e tecnologia: hora de rever? Ciência & Saúde Coletiva 4 (2): 383–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Matthews, D. 2011. Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development: The Role of NGOs and Social Movements. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Mazzoleni R., and L.M.C. Póvoa. 2009. Accumulation of Technological Capabilities and Economic Development. Available at Accessed 4 October 2016.
  67. Mueller, B., and C. Mueller. 2014. The Economics of the Brazilian Agricultural Development. Working Paper, International Research Initiative on Brazil and Africa (IRIBA), University of Manchester, UK.Google Scholar
  68. Nastari, P.M. 1983. The Role of Sugar Cane in Brazil’s History and Economy. Retrospective Theses and Dissertations, n. 8948, Digital Repository of the Iowa State University.Google Scholar
  69. Nehring, R. 2016. Yields of Dreams: Marching West and the Politics of Scientific Knowledge in the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). Paper No. 35 Presented at Global Governance Climate Justice and Agrarian Justice International Colloquium, 4–5 February 2016 (The Hague: The Netherlands).Google Scholar
  70. Newell, P. 2008. Trade and Biotechnology in Latin America: Democratization, Contestation and the Politics of Mobilization. Journal of Agrarian Change 8 (2/3): 245–376.Google Scholar
  71. Nunn, A. 2008. The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  72. Octaviani, A. 2010. Biotechnology in Brazil: Promoting Open Innovation. In Access to Knowledge in Brazil, ed. L. Sheaver, 79–102. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  73. OECD. 2001. Using Knowledge for Development: The Brazilian Experience. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  74. Palma, J.G. 2012. Brazil’s Recent Growth. UNCTAD and South Centre Discussion Paper No. 3 (Geneva: UNCTAD).Google Scholar
  75. Pansera, C. 2016. Interview of Celso Pansera with Agência Brasil. Available at Accessed 28 September 2016.
  76. Paulani, L. 2010. Brazil in the Crisis of the Finance-led Regime of Accumulation. Review of Radical Political Economics 42 (3): 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pedersen, J.D. 2008. Globalization, Development and the State: The Performance of India and Brazil Since 1990. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Peschard, K. 2012. Unexpected Discontent: Exploring New Developments in Brazil’s Transgenics Controversy. Canadian Journal of Development Studies 33 (3): 326–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Philippou, S. 2005. Modernism and National Identity in Brazil, or How to Brew a Brazilian Stew. National Identities 7 (3): 245–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Pimentel, V.P., R.P. Gomes, T.L. Mitidieri, et al. 2014. Inserção Internacional das Empresas Farmacêuticas: Motivações, Experiências e Propostas para o BNDES. BNDES Report. Available atção%20internacional%20das%20empresas%20farmacêuticas_P.pdf. Accessed 22 September 2016.
  81. PITCE. 2003. Diretrizes de Política Industrial, Tecnológica e de Comércio Exterior, 26 de Novembro de 2003. Available at Accessed 10 September 2016.
  82. Rada, N. 2013. Assessing Brazil’s Cerrado Agricultural Miracle. Food Policy 38: 146–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Reis-Castro, L., and K. Henrickx. 2013. Winged Promises: Exploring the Discourse on Transgenic Mosquitoes in Brazil. Technology in Society 35: 118–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Reis, R., V. Terto, and C. Pimenta. 2009. Intellectual Property Rights and Access to ARV Medicines: Civil Society Resistance in the Global South. Rio de Janeiro: ABIA.Google Scholar
  85. Ribeiro, L.L., and A.G. Carvalho. 2008. Private Equity and Venture Capital in an Emerging Economy: Evidence from Brazil. Venture Capital 10 (2): 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rocha, G.M. 2002. Neo-Dependency in Brazil. New Left Review 16 (July–August): 5–33.Google Scholar
  87. Rodriguez, A. 2008. Knowledge and Innovation for Competitiveness in Brazil. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Santilli, J. 2012. Agrobiodiversity and the Law: Regulating Genetic Resources, Food Security and Cultural Diversity. New York: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  89. Sauer, S., and S.P. Leite. 2012. Agrarian Structure, Foreign Investment in Land, and Land Prices in Brazil. The Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (3/4): 873–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Schwartz, R. 1988. Brazilian Culture. New Left Review 167: 77–90.Google Scholar
  91. Schwartzman, S. 1995. Science and Technology Policy in Brazil: A New Policy for a Global World. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Vargas.Google Scholar
  92. Scoones, I. 2005. Contentious Politics, Contentious Knowledges: Mobilising against GM Crops in India, South Africa and Brazil. Institute of Development Studies, Working Paper 256, Brighton UK.Google Scholar
  93. Sell, S. 2003. Private Power, Public Law: The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Shadlen, K. 2011. The Political Contradictions of Incremental Innovation: Lessons from Pharmaceutical Patent Examination in Brazil. Politics & Society 39 (2): 143–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Shadlen, K. 2017. Global Change, National Responses: The New Politics of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Shadlen, K., and E.M. Fonseca. 2013. Health Policy as Industrial Policy: Brazil in Comparative Perspective. Politics and Society 41 (4): 561–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Shaffer, G., M.R. Sanchez, and B. Rosenberg. 2008. The Trial at Winning at the WTO: What Lies Behind Brazil’s Success. Cornell International Law Journal 41: 383–501.Google Scholar
  98. Silva, R.E., A.A. Amato, and M.R.C.G. Novaes. 2015. Funding of Clinical Trials in Brazil for the Development of New Drugs: Who Are the Sponsors? International Journal of Clinical Trials 2 (4): 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Souza, V.S., and R.V. Santos. 2014. The Emergence of Human Population Genetics and Narratives About the Formation of the Brazilian Nation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 47: 97–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Sweet, C. 2013. The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Production in Brazil. In The New Political Economy of Pharmaceuticals Production, Innovation and TRIPS, ed. H. Löfgren. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  101. Tulchin, J.S., and H.A. Golding, eds. 2002. Environment and Security in the Amazon Basin. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.Google Scholar
  102. Velez E. 2010. Brazil’s Practical Experience with Access and Benefit Sharing and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge. Policy Brief Number 8, ICTSD, Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  103. Viana, A.L., H.P. Silva, and I. Yi. 2015. Universalizing Health Care in Brazil: Opportunities and Challenges. UNRISD Working Paper 2015–8. Geneva: UNRISD.Google Scholar
  104. Watal, J. 2001. Intellectual Property Rights in the WTO and Developing Countries. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  105. Welch, J.R. 2015. Brazil’s New Biodiversity Law. Ethnobiology Letters 6 (1): 216–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Wilkinson, J., and S. Herrera. 2010. Biofuels in Brazil: Debates and Impacts. The Journal of Peasant Studies 37 (4): 749–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valbona Muzaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of European & International StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations