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Spain's fight against Hepatitis C: access to medicines, regionalism, and patents

Grant number: 19/08888-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): October 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Administration - Public Administration
Principal Investigator:Elize Massard da Fonseca
Grantee:Luísa Bolaffi Arantes
Supervisor abroad: Lupicinio Iniguez Rueda
Home Institution: Escola de Administração de Empresas (EAESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:18/19737-7 - Political economy of generic drug regulation in Latin America, BP.IC

Abstract

One of the critical problems of contemporary global health is how to provide access to life-saving direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV). DAAs are recently launched drugs that have demonstrated cure rates exceeding 90%, which has revolutionized the fight against this epidemic. Given the promising results of such therapies, the World Health Organization launched a strategy to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health emergency, but only a small group of countries have taken serious steps towards improving their prevention and treatment policies. One of these is Spain, a country that has expanded access to DAAs in the context of strong patent protection, universal access to these medicines, and a highly decentralized healthcare system. The key aim of this internship is to conduct a qualitative, exploratory field research project to investigate the Spanish response to the HCV epidemic. We will investigate the country's initiatives to procure DAAs, the political process around the development of a national plan, and policy implementation in one of the autonomous regions. This study can inform public administration and global health practitioners on lessons learned from the exemplary case of Spain. It will also inform our FAPESP project in Brazil and explore the possibility of a comparative study.