TWN Info Service on Trade and WTO Issues (Aug 07/06)
29 August 2007
wish to bring to your attention that
The Thai government has decided to import a generic version of the heart drug Plavix from India under compulsory licensing, which will cost 1.01 baht per tablet as compared to 70 baht a tablet for the patented drug available on the market. The drug will be supplied by the Indian company M-cure. Patent for Plavix is held by Sanofi Aventis.
The government has justified breaking the patents for the drugs, held by Western pharmaceutical companies, by citing budget constraints in providing advanced medication for people living with HIV/Aids. Abbott Laboratories holds the patent for Kaletra while Efavirenz is patented by MSD.
Public Health Ministry has decided to import a generic version of the
heart drug Plavix from
The first shipment of two million tablets of clopidogrel is expected in two months, Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) board chairman Vichai Chokvivat said yesterday.
The heart drug will be supplied by the Indian company M-cure, which entered the lowest of four bids, at 1.01 baht per tablet. The price compares with 70 baht a tablet for the patented drug available on the market.
ministry has already issued compulsory licences for two key Aids drugs,
Efavirenz and Kaletra. It has already begun importing cheaper versions
of Efavirenz from
The ministry has justified breaking the patents for the drugs, held by Western pharmaceutical companies, by citing budget constraints in providing advanced medication for people living with HIV/Aids under the universal health scheme, which covers 80% of Thailand's 63-million population.
Abbott Laboratories holds the patent for Kaletra while Efavirenz is patented by MSD, and Plavix by Sanofi Aventis.
"The GPO will import the medicine and ask the firm to register with the Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible," Dr Vichai said. "We will buy two million tablets in the first order and the shipment is expected to arrive in a month or two." The ministry would save about 138 million baht, he said.
An estimated 20.5 million tablets of Plavix are needed for heart disease patients under the universal health scheme.
Only 20% of patients currently have access to the medication. The compulsory licensing policy was hailed yesterday by non-government organisations and a UN agency.
it was criticised by the
Eighth International Congress on Aids in Asia and the Pacific, being
held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was told Thailand's decision to run with
compulsory licensing was one of the most critical political commitments
yet to combat Aids. It was a good example for other countries in
"It's the right thing to do because we just can't provide those who need with only the first-line drugs because of the high cost," said Prasada Rao, director of the UNAids regional support team.
urge countries in
The 70 member countries will address the issue in the Colombo Declaration, to be released today at the end of the five-day conference.
The Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/Aids has already released a statement calling on other governments, the UN and other organisations to provide access to antiretroviral drugs, including second-line treatment and other essential medicines, via the Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights agreement. It said these were fundamental needs.
also supported the compulsory licensing policy implemented in Thailand
and strongly opposed any free trade agreements which would jeopardise
the rights of both HIV-positive people and developing countries to have
access to affordable medicine. Health and consumer groups yesterday
groups included the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/Aids, the
Aids Access Foundation, Oxfam and Medecins Sans Frontieres. Jiraporn
Limpananont, president of the Consumers Foundation, said the protest
letters were an unwarranted intervention in