Brazil announced a new initiative to boost domestic production of common medicines and equipments.
Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said the plans call for major government investments in the field, public-private partnerships to produce drugs, and fast-tracking patents and registration of products crucial to public health.
He estimated that the measures would lead to savings of 354 million reais ($179 million) over five years, because the government currently imports most of the medicines involved and makes them available to the national health system.
He made the announcement at a meeting hosted by the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paolo.
He said the government would extend seven billion reais ($3.5 billion) in credits to Brazilian firms involved in innovative health projects and pump another 1.3 billion reais ($651 million) into the infrastructure of public laboratories.
He said key regulatory bodies -- the National Health Surveillance Agency ANVISA, the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) and the Brazilian Association of Technical Norms (ABNT) -- would sign agreements aimed at speeding up the process for obtaining patents and registering products.