Thailand’s Compulsory Licensing Controversy

Between November 2006 and January 2007, Thailand issued compulsory licenses for two AIDS drugs (efavirnz and the combination of lopinavir+ritonavir) and one antihypertension drug (clopidegrel).  The pharmaceutical industry has vehemently objected to these compulsory licenses, and has sought the US government’s assistance in the matter.  Though USTR  has been careful not to claim that the Thai government has violated the TRIPS Agreement, it did place Thailand on the 301 Report’s Priority Watch List.  Currently, the Thai government is in the process of deciding whether or not to issue a compulsory license for generic imatinib, a leukemia drug.

Below are the compulsory licenses, correspondence between the EC and Thailand regarding the compulsory licenses, KEI documents on the dispute, as well as other documents dated after June 2007.  Many earlier documents can be found on the CPTech Page on Thailand.

Compulsory Licenses

License for Lopinavir+Ritonavir (Kaletra/Alluvia)
License for Efavirenz (Stocrin)

License for Clopidegrel (Plavix)

KEI Documents

March 4, 2008, “Thailand Compulsory Licenses and Public Health,” KEI Letter to Thailand Prime Minister Sundaravej and Minister of Public Health Chaiya Sasomsap.

May 3, 2007. Abbott recently sought compulsory license in US patent dispute.

April 30, 2007. KEI Statement on USTR 301 list reference to Thailand.

April 26, 2007. Compulsory Licenses on Patents.

April 25, 2007. James Love in the Huffington Post. What do have against poor people in Thailand getting affordable medicines?

April 2, 2007. James Love in the Huffington Post. Senator Lieberman and Four Others Rap Thailand Compulsory Licenses on Non-AIDS Drugs.

March 8, 2007. James Love. Recent examples of the use of compulsory licenses on patents.

January 25, 2007. James Love. “Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) Statement on Thailand Compulsory licenses”.

December 24, 2007. James Love. Some recent examples of the use of compulsory licenses.

December 12, 2006. James Love. Letter asking USTR not to interfere with the Thai government decision to issue a government-use license on patents covering the AIDS drug efavirenz.


Government Documents

January 31- February 6, 2008. WHO Mission. Improving Access to Medicines in Thailand: The use of TRIPS flexibilities

August, 2007.  Thai Minister of Health Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla. Additional Letter to Peter Mandelson.

July 20, 2007. U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce. Letter to General Surayud Chulanont.

July, 2007.  Thai Minister of Health Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla. Reply to EC Commissioner Peter Madelson’s July 18th Letter on Compulsory Licenses.

July 10, 2007. EC Commissioner Peter Mandelson.Letter to Thai Minister of Commerce Krirk-krai Jirapaet

June 21, 2007. 34 Members of Congress Letter to USTR on Thailand’s 301 Listing.

Civil Society Documents

August 22, 2007. Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+), the Social Network for Cancer Patients, AIDS Access Foundation, Foundation for Consumers, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and Oxfam. Thai Civil Society Joins Forces with International NGOs to Denounce the EU Trade Commissioner and the US Ambassador for their Interference in Thai Compulsory Licensing Decision.

August 22, 2007. ACT-UP Paris and AIDES. European Commission’s Pressure on Thailand: Mandelson Sacrifices Patients.

August 14, 2007. Brook Baker for Health GAP. EU Demands on Thailand Are Based on Lies and Misrepresentations.

July 20, 2007. Health GAP, Global AIDS Alliance, the American Medical Student Association, and the Student Global AIDS Campaign.  Abbott Pediatric Formulation Leaves Thai Kids Out.

July 13, 2007. Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS and ACT-UP Paris.  Abbott Blockade Against Thailand: People with HIV/AIDS Invite CEO to Crisis Resolution Meeting.

June 20, 2007. Essential Action. Comments on Waxman Letter Regarding USTR Pressure on Thailand for Its Lawfully Issued Compulsory Licenses.

June 1, 2007. Ken Bluestone, UK Stop AIDS Campaign. Letter to Thai Ambassador Kitti Wasinondh.

Selected News Stories