logo logo

Facts and evidences on the 10 burning issues related to the government use of patents on three patented essential drugs in Thailand

Document to Support Strengthening of Social Wisdom on
the Issue of Drug Patent

By The Ministry of Public Health and The National Health Security Office Thailand

February 2007


The recent decisions of the Thai Ministry of Public Health to announce the Government Use of Patents on three patented drugs, i.e., Efavirenz (Stocrin®) of Merck Sharp and Dohme), Lopinavir+Ritonavir (Kaletra®) of Abbott Laboratory) and Clopidogrel (Plavix®) of Sanofi- Aventis), based on proposals from the National Health Security Office, have raised several questions
among the public and also the concerned partners as well as the pharmaceutical industries, both in the country and internationally. Some questions and concerns are due to lack of information; others are intentional with the aim to create misunderstanding and objections to the
announcements. Thus there is a need to clarify all the questions with the right information and evidences. The Ministry of Public Health staff had compiled all the questions and summarized into 10 burning issues that need to be addressed. Relevant answers and evidences have been collected to address each issue.

The Thai Ministry of Public Health views these decisions on the Government Use of Patents as a form of social movement that aims at improving access to essential medicines and the health of the people. The public health interest is thus the main and final goal of this social movement. We believe that for the sustainability and success of any big social movement, there need to be
a good combination of three factors, i.e., knowledge and evidence, social support, and political commitment. This forms the so-called ’Triangle that moves the mountain’. It is the educated and motivated society that will push for and support the political commitment to bring real and sustainable success to any social reform movement.
Thus this white paper on ’The Facts and Evidences on the 10 Burning Issues Related to the Government Use of Patents on Three Patented Essential Drugs in Thailand’ does not only aim at answering all the questions raised, but more importantly as a tool to inform and educate the
Thai and Global Society as a whole, on the issue of pharmaceutical patent and the public health.

This is to ensure the success of the future movements to improve the intellectual property systems so that it is more conducive to social development. The Thai Ministry of Public Health firmly believes in a moderate and public interest oriented approach to implement the intellectual property right. We are convinced and committed to the view that ’Public Health interest and the life of the people must come before commercial interest’.

We do need innovative ways to provide incentives for drug research and development to improve access to essential drugs for all. We believe in what Albert Einstein once said:
’We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’

This white paper was prepared with time constraint, so there may be some unintentional mistakes and we would expect the readers to understand the limitation and also read it with their own wise and fair judgment.

Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla
Minister of Public Health,
Chairman of the National Health Security Board,