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
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