Economics at your fingertips  

When access to drugs meets catch-up: Insights from the use of CL threats to improve access to ARV drugs in Brazil

Shyama V. Ramani and Eduardo Urias ()

Research Policy, 2018, vol. 47, issue 8, 1538-1552

Abstract: Access to affordable lifesaving medicines is considered a human right. This leads to a question largely understudied in the catch-up literature on accumulation of industrial capabilities. Can the need to improve access to an essential commodity impact the sectoral catch-up trajectory of the corresponding industry? In 1996, Brazil initiated a policy of universal and free access to highly-active ARV therapy, which put an enormous pressure on the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MoH). In order to ensure an adequate supply of ARVs in the public healthcare system with a limited budget, MoH started negotiating price reductions for high-cost patented drugs, often deploying the threat of using compulsory licensing. Through a scoping review of the literature and construction of the Brazilian case study, the paper explores how the need to access is impacted by prior catch-up in the pharmaceutical sector and triggers in turn future sectoral catch-up. It shows that price negotiations may or may not impact both catch-up and access positively. Catch-up can provide bargaining strength in price negotiations and have a positive inter-temporal impact on both future catch-up and access. However, results suggest that only successful catch-up can lead to long term access, as the capabilities accumulated in aborted catch-up are not sufficient for large scale production of low cost essential medicines. Thus, industrial policy and health policy can impact one another and twining between catch-up and access can be helpful.

Keywords: Access to medicines; Technological catch-up; Pharmaceutical industry; Brazil; Compulsory license; Window of opportunity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 O33 O38 B52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

More articles in Research Policy from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

Page updated 2019-04-15
Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:8:p:1538-1552