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Rural Pharmacists call to oust Thaksin

Bangkok Post

Rural Pharmacists call to oust Thaksin

7 March 2006

(TNA) - The Rural Pharmacists Club issued a statement on Sunday calling for caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to resign and said the prime minister should face an investigation by independent committee over his alleged attempts to amend law to allow foreign companies to take over the country’s vital state enterprises.

The club said its members agreed with academics and other critics that Mr. Thaksin has lost his political legitimacy and should not remain as head of the country since he has put the national interest at stake by negotiating a free trade area (FTA) agreement negotiation with the United States.

They said the FTA would make certain drugs more expensive which would effectively limit access to medicines among poor patients.

The pharmacists are close observers of the functioning of the Thaksin government’s 30-baht healthcare scheme, whih has successfully provided medical services to segments of the population which could not formally afford any medical care, but which has strained the financial resources of hospitals and has forced some to close.

The pharmacists also accused Mr. Thaksin of trying to amend laws to allow him to sell the nation’s important state assets to foreign investors.

Mr. Thaksin has come under attack following his family’s controversial sale of its shares in its telecommunication company to a Singaporean firm.

’’We call for Mr. Thaksin to resign as the caretaker prime minister and stay away from the politics pending an independent investigation to clarify himself,’’ said the statement.

The organisation also called for government officials generally and the police in particular to be impartial and respect people’s freedom of expression and refrain from violence.

The statement also asked the media to report without bias and said the public should find measures to punish media that takes sides and distorts facts.