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Thailand to Buy Generic Plavix in India, Snubs Sanofi (Thailand)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

Thailand is ordering 2 million doses of generic Plavix from India after failing to win large enough discounts for the blood-thinner made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi-Aventis SA. As many as four Indian drugmakers are vying for the contract, according to Vichai Chokevivat, chairman of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization. The supplies will help meet Thailand's demand for between 4 million and 5 million Plavix tablets a year and cut the cost of treating the country's poorest heart-disease patients. The state-run drugmaker, which had initially sought 500,000 doses of generic Plavix, or clopidogrel, expects to pay between 5 baht and 5.50 baht for the pills. Sanofi offered to sell Plavix at 27 baht per tablet, with an added incentive of supplying 3.4 million tablets for the same cost as 1 million. "We proposed a program that would allow the Ministry of Public Health to supply, at no additional cost, our high-quality heart treatment," Sanofi spokesman Jean-Marc Podvin said. "However, the ministry has focused only on price and has insisted repeatedly on sourcing generics of Plavix of unknown quality." Thailand is using a World Trade Organization provision that allows governments to permit generic-drug production without the patent owners' consent in some cases. Thailand is already buying copies of the AIDS drug efavirenz, marketed as Stocrin by Merck & Co. and as Sustiva by Bristol-Myers, from an Indian unit of Mylan Laboratories Inc. Thailand says copying the drugs will allow the government to provide free medicine to a larger share of the country's poorest citizens, including its 220,000 HIV sufferers. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says issuing so-called compulsory licenses removes the incentive for companies to invest in research, and that its members would retaliate by not introducing new drugs in Thailand. (Click here for more - May Require Free Registration

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