Three questions for Jorge Raimundo Filho


Sworn in 2010 as a member of the ETCO Advisory Board, Jorge Raimundo Filho has extensive experience in the administration of companies in the pharmaceutical industry. In this interview he talks about the competitive ethics applied to the sector where he has been operating for almost 50 years.

1) Where are the competition ethics and the pharmaceutical sector at?

What guides the pharmaceutical industry is the principle of ethics. The relationship of our sector with the world must always be guided by transparency, by the very nature of the object. From the first moment, ethics permeates the entire production chain, which begins with the invention of the molecule. From this initial moment, the researcher's first concern is the protection of his invention - intellectual property - so that he can disclose what he invented to the world, without running the risk of making undue copies.

From there, there are countless steps to be taken until the product is ready to be placed on the market, in a process that can take a few years, and in which all the work is guided by transparency and ethics.

Only after going through all the stages and being approved in pre-clinical and clinical tests, will the product be ready to be evaluated by the regulatory agencies, as is the case with ANVISA, in Brazil. Just to get an idea of ​​the size of the investments involved, of 10 molecules invented, only one goes to the market.

Finally, there is also the whole issue of transparency applied to information to the market. An example of this is information about the available benefits and harms of the package insert.

2) What are the main competitive problems faced by the pharmaceutical sector and how do they converge with ETCO's proposals for action?

The pharmaceutical industry is at ETCO because it believes that combating unfair competition, be it piracy, counterfeiting or tax evasion, is an education problem and requires constant, persevering work. Its harms extend to practically all sectors of the economy, but have different impacts in each one. In the case of counterfeiting, it is worth remembering that in addition to the economic impact, common to all sectors and harmful to companies that work within the principles of competitive ethics, in the pharmaceutical sector there is added the severity of the use by the population of fake or adulterated drugs, because what is at risk is life. A fake drug can result in two chances: it doesn't get better or worse, and in both cases it can lead to death. This is one of the reasons that explain the importance of the causes defended by ETCO for the sector, which has a great interest in defending the cause for the benefit of the original producer.

In addition, there is also the issue of tax evasion, which is directly linked to the high tax burden.

3) In terms of counterfeiting, the harm to the population is very clear. In the tax question, is the population also affected or is the problem restricted to unfair competition?

We have long advocated reducing the tax burden to increase access to medicines. In the pharmaceutical sector, in addition to implying the already known harm - evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling - the high tax burden directly implies the issue of two-way access. One of them is, without a doubt, the price of medicines. Taxes imposed on medicines in Brazil are around 30% of the industry's revenue, one of the highest rates in the world, whose average does not exceed one digit. On the other hand, the amount collected by the Government in taxes on medicines is practically the same as the Ministry of Health spends on the purchase of medicines for the population. The reduction of the tax burden is, therefore, fundamental to improve the access of the population, mainly the low-income population.