Thai Government, Drug Companies Fail to Reach Agreement in Talks Over Compulsory Licensing; Another Round of Talks Anticipated
March 28, 2007
The Thai government and international pharmaceutical companies have failed to reach an agreement in recent talks over compulsory licenses issued by the country for certain medications, the Bangkok Post reports (Bangkok Post, 3/27). Pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories recently announced that it has withdrawn applications to sell seven new drugs in Thailand in response to the country's decision to issue a compulsory license for the company's antiretroviral drug Kaletra. Thai Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla in January signed the compulsory license, which allows Thailand to produce a lower-cost version of Kaletra, into law. World Trade Organization regulations allow governments to declare a "national emergency" and issue compulsory licenses without consulting the foreign patent owner. Thailand, which has 580,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, has won international recognition for its quick launch of a national drug program that provides treatment to more than 82,000 HIV-positive people. However, the government's commitment to providing universal access to care is facing increasingly high drug costs. The compulsory license for Kaletra could save the country as much as $24 million annually. Abbott offered to lower Kaletra's cost to $167 per patient monthly, although representatives from the health ministry said that was still too high. Abbott and the ministry agreed to meet for further negotiations. Mongkol recently said that he will expand the country's generic drug program to include more antiretroviral and cancer drugs unless pharmaceutical companies reduce their prices (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/21).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2007 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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