Thailand has okayed the issue of compulsory licenses for inexpensive versions of heart disease and AIDS drugs, a move, not likely to sit well with pharmaceutical bigwigs. Health Minister, Mongkol Songkhla, confirmed that the laws are in place and are effective.
According to the Health Minister, the drugs are meant for treating HIV-AIDS and heart disease. He did not elaborate on whether the drugs would be generic substitutes to products from Abbott, Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Elaborating on the reasons behind such a move, he said, "We have to do this because we have so many patients to treat with so little budget. We can't watch our people die and their patents have been here for so long."
Thailand is planning to purchase generic versions of drugs, from companies in China or India for a reduced cost, about 10 percent of the original price.