Delegation Plans To Issue Report About Thailand’s Compulsory Licensing Program
A seven-member delegation of international trade and health experts next week plans to release a report about Thailand's compulsory licensing program in an effort to help the country expand access to antiretroviral drugs and other medicines, the Bangkok Post reports. The delegation -- which includes officials from the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and international law experts -- began a three-day visit to Thailand on Monday. The visit follows a November 2006 request from outgoing Thai Public Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla in response to the country's decision to issue compulsory licenses for certain drugs, including the antiretrovirals Aluvia and Efavirenz.
The delegation on Monday visited Thailand's Department of Intellectual Property, the National Health Security Office, the Thai Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Disease Control. They also met with representatives from Medecins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam International and the Thai Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS. The delegation on Tuesday met with officials from Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organization; and representatives from Abbott, Sanofi-Aventis and Merck.
Virat Poorahong, head of the Thai Network, said he is not certain if the delegation will help the group but added that the report will help the new public health minister follow a similar policy to increase access to antiretrovirals and other drugs. Paul Cawthorne, head of mission for MSF, said it is "very good news" that the report would be ready within 10 days. He added that a "report will be important for the new government and the new public health minister to come up with a clear and right policy on public access to the medicines" (Apiradee, Bangkok Post, 2/5).