Pharmaceutical Companies Will Be Required To Declare Production Cost of Drugs Introduced in Thailand, Health Official Says
Pharmaceutical companies will be required to declare the production cost of new medicines, including antiretroviral drugs, they are planning to introduce into the Thai market, Siriwat Thiptaradol, secretary-general of Thailand's Food and Drug Administration, said recently, the Bangkok Post reports. According to Siriwat, the requirement to disclose production costs of drugs is included in a new bill being considered by the Office of the Council of States. The bill aims to seek a balance between the interests of patent holders and the public, Siriwat said. He added that although it might affect drug sales to some degree, the law would not prompt drug companies to withhold introducing new drugs into the country as Abbott Laboratories did recently. According to the Post, health officials also will monitor the marketing and promotional tactics of pharmaceutical companies, which can increase drug prices. "Drugs are a special product, and the FDA has a duty to ease the problems of drug access while protecting consumers' rights," Siriwat said, adding, "In the meantime, we also have to ensure the move will not severely hurt the benefits of drug companies" (Bangkok Post, 4/17). Thailand's Ministry of Public Health also recently announced that the country will seek to import from India a generic version of the antiretroviral Aluvia, an updated version of Kaletra. The announcement was made after Abbott's decision to withhold the introduction of new drugs, including Aluvia, to the country, according to an unnamed source with the health ministry. Thai authorities might receive some cooperation from international organizations to negotiate the price of Aluvia to ensure it will be affordable for people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, the source said. The generic version of Aluvia costs about 4,000 baht, or $124, monthly, but generic drug makers could reduce the price to less than 2,000 baht, or $62, monthly to compete with the price of Kaletra offered by Abbott, according to Virat Poorahong, head of the Thai Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (Apiradee, Bangkok Post, 4/19).
Thailand Approves Strategic Plan To Reduce HIV Prevalence Among Youth
In related news, Thailand's National AIDS Prevention and Control Committee recently approved a three-year strategic plan to reduce increasing HIV cases among young people in the country. The plan will focus on educating youth about HIV prevention and promoting social values, as well as encouraging youth to participate in HIV prevention activities. In addition, the plan will call for local organizations to participate in HIV prevention and control activities. Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Development and Human Security Paiboon Wattanasiritham earlier this month signed an order appointing a subcommittee to supervise to plan. The Thai National Health Insurance Office initially will fund the plan with about 500 million baht, or $15,550, and additional funds are expected from the Health Promotion Fund. About 17,000 new HIV cases occur annually in Thailand, and about half of all new cases occur among youth ages 18 and 19, the Thai News Service reports (Thai News Service, 4/19).