AIDS Advocates Protest U.S.-Thai Trade Talks Over Drug Patent Proposal
About 10,000 demonstrators, including more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS advocates, on Monday gathered at the U.S. consulate in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai to protest a proposed Free Trade Agreement that is being negotiated this week between the U.S. and Thailand, Southeast Asia's The Irrawaddy reports (Silp, The Irrawaddy, 1/9). Thailand and the U.S. are in the sixth round of talks and are seeking to finalize the deal, which aims to foster trade between the two countries to help boost economic growth (AP/Yahoo! News, 1/9). HIV/AIDS advocates oppose a proposal by the U.S. to extend patent protection for drugs developed by U.S. companies to 25 years. The World Trade Organization's patent protection currently is valid for 20 years. Advocates fear the deal could limit drug access for HIV-positive Thai people (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/9). The talks, which the U.S. hopes will lay the groundwork to allow agreements be to finalized this spring, are expected to last until Friday (AP/Yahoo! News, 1/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.