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Pattaya Daily News

16 March 2008 :: 16:03:23 pm 30080

Drug Patent Decision A Victory For The Thai People, Says Aids Healthcare Foundation

Mar 14, 2008 - AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which provides AIDS care and treatment services to more than 65,000 individuals in 20 countries worldwide, today joined other global health advocates in praising the announcement by Thailand?s new Minister of Health Chaiya Sasomsap that the country will continue to override patents on several cancer drugs in order to protect the health of its citizens.
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On Monday Chaiya announced that he would urge the Thai government to maintain the compulsory licenses that had been previously issued on lifesaving cancer drugs produced by Roche, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis. Thailand’s compulsory license policy has made it possible for the government to provide cheaper, generic versions of drugs and increase access to lifesaving medicines for those in need.

“We applaud Thailand’s Ministry of Health for courageously maintaining these compulsory licenses to make affordable versions of lifesaving drugs and hail the decision as a victory for the Thai people,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare

Foundation. “Thailand continues to place the health of its citizens ahead of drug company profits and stands with Brazil and Malaysia as a model for countries around the world whose people are in need of lifesaving medicines. We call on governments in countries where people continue to lack access to urgently-needed drugs to follow Thailand’s lead and pursue all tactics necessary to provide their citizens with lifesaving medicines.”

The three cancer drugs for which compulsory licenses have been issued are Novartis’ breast cancer drug Letrozole, Sanofi-Aventis’ breast and lung cancer drug Docetaxel and Roche’s Erlotinib, used to treat lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancer. Thailand, under its former Minister of Health Mongkol na Songkhla, had also issued compulsory licenses for two HIV/AIDS drugs, Merck’s Efavirenz and Abbott Laboratories’ Aluvia. Thailand has been praised for its response to its HIV/AIDS epidemic and for its commitment to providing lifesaving medicines to all those in need. The Thai government, however, continues to face increasingly high drug costs, which threaten its ability to provide care for its citizens. Flexibilities under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement allow governments to issue compulsory licenses on patented pharmaceuticals if the country deems it necessary and appropriate to protect the health of its citizens.

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Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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