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The political contradictions of incremental innovation: lessons from pharmaceutical patent examination in Brazil

By Kenneth C. Shadlen


Neodevelopmental patent regimes aim to facilitate local actors' access to knowledge and also encourage incremental innovations. The case of pharmaceutical patent examination in Brazil illustrates political contradictions between these objectives. Brazil's patent law includes the Ministry of Health in the examination of pharmaceutical patent applications. Though widely celebrated as a health-oriented policy, the Brazilian experience has become fraught with tensions and subject to decreasing levels of both stability and enforcement. I show how one pillar of the neodevelopmental regime, the array of initiatives to encourage incremental innovations, has fostered the acquisition of innovative capabilities in the Brazilian pharmaceutical sector, and how these new capabilities have altered actors' policy preferences and thus contributed to the erosion of the coalition in support of the other pillar of the neodevelopmental regime, the health-oriented approach to examining pharmaceutical patents. The analysis of capability-derived preference formation points to an endogenous process of coalitional change

Topics: JA Political science (General), RA Public aspects of medicine, RS Pharmacy and materia medica, T201 Patents. Trademarks
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0032329211402601
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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