Thai Government to Begin Producing Didanosine
The Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organization announced on Wednesday that it will begin producing the antiretroviral drug didanosine "immediate[ly]," the Financial Times reports. The move follows a recent court order declaring Bristol-Myers Squibb's patent on the drug invalid except for in specific doses. Bristol-Myers has two weeks to appeal the ruling, but so far has "remained silent" on whether it will seek to have the decision overturned (Dyer/Kazim, Financial Times, 10/17). The GPO announced last week that it would petition the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court for permission to produce a generic version of the antiretroviral drug (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/10). However, GPO Director Dr. Thongchai Thawichachart said the agency decided to go ahead and produce ddI tablets after legal experts determined that it did not need permission from the court to begin producing and marketing the drug in doses not protected under Bristol-Myers' patent. GPO already produces ddI in powder form. Tablets are beneficial because they are easy to use and have fewer side effects, according to Thongchai. The pills will retail for about 45 cents, less than half the price currently charged by Bristol-Myers (Financial Times, 10/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.