Senate confirms military doctor in charge of the agency


The Senate Social Affairs Committee (CAS) approved the appointment of the deputy chief executive officer of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to act on the job permanently. The doctor and military officer Antônio Barra Torres and others appointed to directors were heard by parliamentarians on Monday (19).

Barra had 14 favorable votes and three against the committee. The names must now be analyzed by the Senate plenary. If the plenary also approves them, they will take office. The terms of office will be for five years.

Barra arrived at Anvisa after a sabbatical held in August last year. Since December 2019, he has served as the agency’s deputy chief executive officer.

He told senators that, during his tenure as interim, the priority was to fight the coronavirus. Barra Torres mentioned the regulations for the use of respirators and rapid tests for the detection of covid-19.

“Shortest possible time” for vaccine

According to him, facing the coronavirus is the priority. “Our main challenge is the issue of vaccines that are under development in Brazil,” said Barra. “This agency will give the answer in the best possible time, in the shortest possible time, of course, because we have family members, relatives, who have passed away, because of this disease. Our interest is institutional and, of course, personal.”

Senator Zenaide Maia (Pros-RN), who is a doctor, said she was concerned about the great pressure, with the issue of “several decrees” to release pesticides, which increase the risk of consumers and workers in the field. In 2019 alone, 474 products were released, she said.

Barra replied that one of these products was banned, but it will continue to circulate until “mid-2021”, since it is necessary to zero the stocks. “By the middle of 2021 it will be banned and residual stocks. I believe it is unequivocal proof of the agency’s actions in this field, which is fundamental.”

Others nominated for the positions of directors of Anvisa, the pharmaceutical Meiruze Freitas, the doctor Cristiane Rose Jourdan Gomes and the lawyer Alex Machado Campos, were also heard by the commission.

They were approved by the majority of the collegiate parliamentarians. Campos and Meiruza had one vote against each. Cristiane received two votes against.


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