Brazilian Senate approves lifting of patents for Covid vaccines

senate patents vote
Senate’s voting board. Photo: Pedro França/SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0

The Senate floor approved a bill on Thursday night providing for a temporary breach of patents on Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and medicines for as long as the pandemic lasts. The proposal was approved in a 55-19 vote and now moves on to the lower house.

If signed into law, it will force patent holders to hand all information necessary for the production of Covid-19 vaccines and medicines over to public authorities. The goal is to speed up vaccination rollouts and allow the country to return to some sort of normalcy before the end of the year.

“Brazil is part of treaties which allow the compulsory licensing of patents and there is a legal provision for this in Brazilian law,” said Senator Nelsinho Trad, the proposal’s sponsor. “However, in view of the magnitude of the tragedy brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, this legislation can be improved, in order to speed up the compulsory licensing of the inputs, medicines and vaccines that our country so badly needs.”

We will dig deeper to learn more about the legal implications of this bill, if it becomes a law.