Brazil takes controversial step towards breaking Covid patents

A bill that would allow the country to sidestep patents on drugs, testing, and – crucially – vaccines has passed in the Senate. We break down its legal implications

covid hearings congress patents
Image: Marina Dekhnik/Shutterstock

As Brazil surpassed the grim landmark of 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the Senate floor passed a bill that would temporarily lift patents on Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and drugs for as long as the pandemic lasts. If signed into law, it would force patent holders to hand all information necessary for the production of Covid-19 vaccines and drugs over to public authorities. “The goal is to speed up vaccination rollouts to allow the country to return to some sort of normalcy before the end of the year,” the bill’s rapporteur, Senator Nelsinho Trad, told The Brazilian Report.

But opponents of the bill...

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