Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
GSK Withdraws Application Seeking Patent for Antiretroviral Drug Combid in Thailand
GlaxoSmithKline on Aug. 8 withdrew a patent application for its antiretroviral drug Combid in Thailand, according to an official at Thailand's Ministry of Commerce, the Bangkok Post reports. GSK withdrew the application one day after about 500 HIV-positive people demonstrated outside the company's office in Bangkok, Thailand, according to the official (Bangkok Post, 8/17). GSK applied for a patent for Combid in 1997, but the process stalled because of opposition from HIV/AIDS advocates, some of whom say that Combid is not an innovative drug because the company only added a new substance to an existing formula, which the advocates say makes it ineligible for a patent. According to the Thai Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS, about 4,000 people in the country currently pay about $38 monthly each for generic versions of Combid -- sold as Combivir in the U.S. and Europe -- and would have had to pay about $203 monthly if the patent were approved. In addition, the patent's approval could have hampered access to the drug for more than 100,000 HIV-positive people in the country, according to the group (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/9).
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