Brazil announced a major initiative Thursday to spur domestic production of medicines and equipment to combat diseases such as Alzheimers.
Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said the plans call for major government investments in the field, public-private partnerships to produce drugs, and fast-tracking patents and registration of products crucial to public health.
He estimated that the measures would lead to savings of 354 million reais ($179 million) over five years, because the government currently imports most of the medicines involved and makes them available to the national health system.
"To produce here in Brazil means a saving for the government and the consumer," the Padilha said. "These products can lead to price reductions for the consumer."
He made the announcement at a meeting hosted by the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paolo.
He said the government would extend seven billion reais ($3.5 billion) in credits to Brazilian firms involved in innovative health projects and pump another 1.3 billion reais ($651 million) into the infrastructure of public laboratories.
He said key regulatory bodies—the National Health Surveillance Agency ANVISA, the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) and the Brazilian Association of Technical Norms (ABNT)—would sign agreements aimed at speeding up the process for obtaining patents and registering products.
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