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Compulsory License- The Thai experience (By TNP+) PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Compulsory License- The Thai experience (By TNP+)

After years of lobbying, the Thai government has issued compulsory licenses for 2 ARV drugs, Efavirenz and Kaletra and for Plavix, an anti clotting agent.

The government announced its decision to issue a compulsory licence for Efavirenz in November last year however it has since been locked in talks with pharmaceutical company, Merck who currently holds the patent on Efavirenz in Thailand until 2013. The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce have also been under increasing pressure from the Thai Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PReMA), the US ambassador and the Swiss ambassador to prevent the government issuing these licenses.

Despite this pressure, the Thai Health Minister, Mongkol na Songkhla has signed the licenses and they are now effective for government use. Thailand will import a generic version of Efavirenz from Indian Pharmaceutical Company, Rambaxy until the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has completed bio-equivalence studies and is able to produce a generic version of Efavirenz. It is expected that this may be possible in six months time. The Thai government will import a generic version of Kaletra from Indian generic company, Hetero. The GPO is currently researching the possibility of manufacturing a generic version of Kaletra, currently under patent by Abbott in Thailand .

This is a ground breaking decision for Thailand's military regime and has come after years of lobbying previous governments by TNP+, AIDS ACCESS Foundation, MSF, academics and other HIV activists and organisations. Thailand amended its patent laws to be compliant with WTO regulations in 1992 and so the ability to issue compulsory licenses are a viable legal option to ensure access to quality yet cheaper versions of patented ARV medication.

Yesterday (January 30th), TNP+ went to Government House to meet with the Thai Minister of Health and to deliver a letter to Prime Minister, Surayut Chulanont expressing our gratitude and support for their courageous decision.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 01 March 2010 )
 
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