Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cuba to access global pharmaceutical markets via Brazil

Cuba to access global pharmaceutical markets via Brazil

Just as Ecuador is buying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Cuban
drugs and vaccines, the island's budding pharmaceutical industry is
trying to access more developing markets by way of Brazil.

Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Rocha Santos Padilha and his Cuban
peer, Roberto Morales, signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday in
Havana under which Brazil will make and distribute a Cuban diabetes drug
and 11 cancer products. The ministers also signed an agreement about
clinical research cooperation on cancer vaccines.

If fully implemented, the 58 cooperation projects could generate $200
million worth of sales, according to Padilha. The agreements involve
Brazil's Instituto Nacional do Câncer (Inca), the National Agency of
Sanitary Controls (Anvisa), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the
ministry of science and technology, and the Banco Nacional de
Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), as well as "large Brazilian
companies in the health sector," according to the Brazilian health ministry.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Brazilian-Cuban joint ventures
would not only produce and distribute Heberprot-P and 11 cancer products
in Brazil, but export them to other countries. Heberprot-B, developed by
the Center of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (CIBG) in Havana,
reduces diabetes-related foot ulcers, a widespread health problem that
often leads to amputation.

Cuban-Brazilian drug production in Brazil will "contribute to the
reduction of the trade deficit, because Brazil is importing nearly all
its inputs," Padilha said, according to the Brazilian health ministry.

A new chapter of global health efforts is beginning, as the United
Nations is beginning to tackle non-contagious diseases such as cancer,
diabetes and hypertension, Padilha said.

"We expect to take concrete steps regarding cooperation, not only
between our peoples but for the rest of the world, which hopes to be
closer to access to medicine as a basic right to health," the Brazilian
minister said, according to AIN.

Another part of the agreement includes cooperation in the treatment of
vaginal infections, hemorrhoids and injuries caused by the HPV virus.

Padilha and a Brazilian delegation toured the CIBG and the Center of
Molecular Immunology (CIM) in Havana Friday. During a visit at the Latin
American Medical School (ELAM), Padilha said that the 500-plus
Brazilians who have graduated from ELAM will be supported with a
Brazilian government program to validate their degrees in the South
American country. Some 600 Brazilians are currently studying at ELAM.

Brazil and Cuba have cooperated in biotechnology and sanitary programs
in the South American country since 1996. In 2006, a Cuban-Brazilian
joint venture began developing and producing three biotechnology
products in Brazil.

Brazil is also co-funding the reconstruction of Haiti's health system, a
Cuban-led program.

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