Latin American market is extremely attractive for pharma companies. This market includes big and important countries, as Brazil or Mexico, but smaller countries, as Central American countries, are also on the focus.
In the maze of IP laws and guidelines of Latin American countries, it is extremely important to find the most suitable strategy to meet the business goals.
There are significant restrictions to pharma inventions in several countries of Latin America. Some restrictions are imposed by law: medical uses aren’t allowed in countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia). In Argentina, however, restrictions are imposed by guidelines for examination, which came into force in 2012.
In Brazil, the grant of a pharma patent does not depend exclusively on a decision of the patent office, as in other countries. The grant also depends on Anvisa, the sanitary agency for strategic products for the National Health System.
From the deep knowledge of IP law and practice in the region, it is possible to find the most suitable strategy. Pharma companies can benefit from several positive measures, among them: adopting US or EP granted claims, speeding up prosecution or requesting extension of the patent term.
For sure, 2015 will bring changes to the patent community in Latin America. We would like to mention several issues that may be of interest to pharma companies. A new public tender is conducted in Brazil to hire new examiners in several areas of knowledge, a measure to reduce the backlog of the Brazilian patent office. New PPH agreements will come into force, as the agreement between Mexican patent office and EPO and a new IP law is under preparation in Venezuela, according to the inclusion of the adhesion of this to Mercosur.
We will be expecting these changes to occur, and any other future change that would accelerate and increase the number of grants of pharma patents in the region.