Brasilia DF) – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed, this Tuesday (26), a decree establishing the National Strategy for the Development of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex. By 2026, the forecast is R$42 billion in public and private investments in this industrial sector which, according to the government, is part of the country’s reindustrialization strategy.
With six structuring programs, the objective of the strategy is to expand national production of priority items for the Unified Health System (SUS) and reduce Brazil’s dependence on foreign inputs, medicines, vaccines and other health products. In ten years, the health sector’s trade deficit grew by 80%. In 2013, it was US$11 billion and today it reaches US$20 billion.
In his speech, President Lula highlighted that the country’s greater autonomy is fundamental to reducing the sector’s vulnerability and ensuring universal access to health for all. “What we are doing today with this act is more than a program to create an industry in the health sector: we are creating a sovereign country, a country that has a head, trunk and limbs, a country that has the authority to think, to innovate”, he said at a ceremony at Palácio do Planalto.
According to the president, in order to invest in innovation and production, it is essential that the sector has predictability. “It seems little, but when you ask a girl to marry you, she wants to know what will happen to her life, right?”, he said. “In politics it’s exactly the same thing. There’s no point in us being lazy if people don’t believe in us”, argued Lula, guaranteeing that the country’s economy will remain “serene”.
For the president, the country’s large domestic market also shows the capacity for growth and expansion of the health sector in the Brazilian economy. Furthermore, he cited the partnerships that Brazil is establishing in this sector abroad.
“We have the SUS, which is a source of guarantee for our production in the health system. Therefore, whoever has a market doesn’t have to have a problem, we will consume a large part of what we produce right here. And God wants us to produce more because it will build a strong alliance in South America, Latin America, with the African continent, and we can share it, selling it at affordable prices to the countries that helped us produce”, highlighted.
In a note, the Ministry of Health cited data that demonstrate Brazil’s dependence on foreign markets. “For example, more than 90% of the raw materials used in Brazil to produce inputs such as vaccines and medicines are imported. In the area of medical equipment, national production accounts for 50%. In ready-made medicines, the percentage is around 60% and, in vaccines, a little higher”, says the text.
Earlier, in participation in the program Conversation with the PresidentMinister Nísia Trindade said that the government is working with the goal of producing 70% of all health inputs used in the country within a period of up to ten years.
In total, 11 ministries are involved in the action, which is coordinated by the Health and Development, Industry, Commerce and Services portfolios, in addition to nine public bodies and institutions.
One of the priorities of the strategy is to reinforce the production of inputs that help in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of socially determined diseases, such as tuberculosis, Chagas disease, viral hepatitis, HIV. The initiative also includes investment in tackling problems relevant to public health, such as chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and immunological diseases), dengue fever, health emergencies and orthopedic trauma.
There are resources planned for production and research units in public laboratories, such as the Brazilian Company for Blood Derivatives and Biotechnology (Hemobrás) and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). Programs are also planned for the national development of vaccines and serums, as well as modernization and innovation in the assistance provided by philanthropic entities.
Of the total investments planned until 2026, there will be R$9 billion through the New PAC (Growth Acceleration Program). The National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) is expected to contribute R$6 billion and the Studies and Projects Financier (Finep), with R$4 billion.
The private sector is expected to contribute around R$23 billion, especially through the technology transfer program with research entities.
To attract private investment, the government also wants to speed up patent registration, with the strengthening of the National Institute of Industrial Property (Inpi). According to the vice-president and minister of the MDIC, Geraldo Alckmin, the processes were taking more than seven years. “The idea is to reach the international standard of two years for patent registration,” he said, at a press conference, after the event at Palácio do Planalto.
In the same sense, the government works towards tax equality, to reduce taxes on national production. “There are cases where imported goods pay less tax than national goods,” he explained.
Alckmin also recalled that, recently, the government announced the opening of financing lines for innovation with interest – at current values of 4% per year – 2% plus the Reference Rate (TR) index. “Doing research is not cheap. No one will invest paying 25% interest per year. So, guaranteeing TR for research, investment and innovation and even non-reimbursable resources is fundamental,” he said.
In total, R$66 billion will be made available for investment in research and development, which includes resources from the Studies and Projects Financier (Finep) and BNDES. Of this amount, R$16 billion will be distributed through public notices and will not need to be returned. For amounts granted as financing, the payment term is 16 years, with the possibility of up to a four-year grace period.
There are six structuring programs of the National Strategy for the Development of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex:
Partnership Program for Productive Development, which involves the government’s coordination with the private sector for the transfer of technology.
Local Development and Innovation Program, which foresees the resumption of investments in local initiatives with a technological and innovative focus, such as artificial intelligence for the early detection of diseases, for example.
Program for Preparation in Vaccines, Serums and Blood Products, which aims to stimulate the national production of technologies for self-sufficiency in these essential products. The government’s idea is that the initiatives are monitored and involve local innovation, in addition to technology transfer.
Program for Neglected Populations and Diseases, which is a resumption of the strategy of public production of technologies in the country, focusing on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the population affected by diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue fever, schistosomiasis, leprosy. According to the government, this is one of the most prominent points of the new strategy of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex, which aims at equity.
Assistance Modernization and Innovation Program, which particularly covers philanthropic entities. The proposal is that the expansion of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex is linked to modernization and innovation in assistance by these institutions providing services to the SUS. According to the government, philanthropic hospitals are responsible for 60% of all highly complex care in the public health network.
Program for Expansion and Modernization of the Infrastructure of the Health Economic-Industrial Complex that combines public and private investments for the expansion of production and infrastructure of the complex itself. The objective is to enable the technological production and innovation capacity, necessary for the execution of the other five programs listed.
*With information from Agência Brasil
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