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Thais Warned on Drug Pricing Pressure (Thailand)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

The European Commission has warned Thailand that if the nation forces drugmakers to drop prices for poor patients it will lose sales, adding to U.S. pressure over patent protection. Peter Mandelson, the EC trade commissioner, has written to Bangkok to protest against its consideration of a broad use of compulsory licenses, allowing it to import cheaper generic versions of branded medicines produced by western companies. Mandelson's letter says Bangkok "may be taking a new approach on access to medicines." The letter adds that "This approach is a matter of concern for the European Union and would be detrimental to the patent system, and so to innovation and the development of new medicines." Mandelson encouraged Bangkok to negotiate with Sanofi-Aventis, the Franco-German maker of Plavix, a drug for heart disease that has been supplanted by cheap Indian imports. Thailand has yet to reply to Brussels, but has denied these charges in the past. Mandelson's tough language may antagonize the European parliament. His letter was written in July just days before MEPs from all parties called on the EU to back more flexible compulsory licensing rules at the WTO. (Click here for more - May Require Paid Subscription

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