Thai Committee To Review Legality of Compulsory Licenses, Health Minister Says
Thai Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsap on Thursday announced that he has invited a committee to review the legality of compulsory licenses issued by outgoing Thai Public Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla, Reuters reports (Nopporn, Reuters, 2/7). Mongkol had issued compulsory licenses for certain medicines, including the antiretroviral drugs Aluvia and Efavirenz (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/6).
According to Chaiya, the committee will comprise senior officials from Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce. Representatives from drug manufacturers also will be invited to discuss the law and the negative consequences that resulted from the compulsory licenses, Chaiya said. He added that he has asked officials to determine if implementation of the compulsory licenses was approved by former Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont or if the decision was made by Mongkol (Thai News Agency, 2/7).
Thailand's Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer's Association recently called on the government to increase dialogue with pharmaceutical industry representatives about the country's generic drug program. In a statement, the association said the new government "understands that collaboration with all stakeholders in the health sector is needed to address the real issues affecting the quality of health care and development of innovation-based industries."
Chaiya said the compulsory licenses "might have been a politically correct decision, but not legally correct." He added, "I can assure you that we won't lift the licenses now. My policy is to review it and find out what caused it and tackle those causes" (Reuters, 2/7).