2021 Shortlist

Revealing chloroquine’s background in Brazil during the pandemic

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: CNN Brasil

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 15 Sep 2020

Credit: Luiz Fernando Toledo, Daniel Mota, José Brito and Vital Neto

Project description:

In a serie of articles, I have revealed huge problems in chloroquine’s production in Brazil, made by the Army. I have obtained several documents and data using Access to Information Law that proved that: 1 – the chloroquine was overpriced; 2 – the army knew it but decided to buy it anyway; 3 – the army helped a company to win the bid by giving them privilleged information; 4 – the ammount produced was much higher than the demand and now there is a stock of 400,000 pills; 5 – The Army recognized that they produced chloroquine without scientific evidence

Impact reached:

Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU) and Procuradoria-Geral da República (PGR) opened investigations against the Ministry of Defense and the Army itself after the stories were released; congresssmen asked for  CPI (inquiry comission). The case is still under investigation – https://www.cnnbrasil.com.br/nacional/2020/09/16/deputados-pedem-explicacao-sobre-preco-da-cloroquina-assunto-deve-ir-a-cpi / https://www.cnnbrasil.com.br/nacional/2020/09/17/pgr-vai-apurar-suposto-crime-de-responsabilidade-de-ministros-da-defesa-e-saude

Techniques/technologies used:

Access to information law, osint research and Google Spreadsheet

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was to scrape data from Diário  Oficial da União (Federal Gazette) to see every single purchase of chloroquine in the past and then compare it to the last purchase.

What can others learn from this project?

When a public authority is defending something with no benefits to the population, it is very possible that there is some scheme or corruption involved. President Jair Bolsonaro made a lot of publicity about Chloroquine even knowing that it has no proved benefits against Covid-19.

Project links: