Spicy Tidbits: Compulsory Licensing Dilemma

Bangkok is continuing preparations to import the generic drug to treat breast and lung cancer patients to fulfill its obligations under the universal health care scheme. This is despite the uncertainty over compulsory licensing in the country.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation board has chosen to sign a deal with Dabur Pharma to distribute Docetaxel.

The GPO chose the Indian drug maker over two other companies, including patent owner Sanofi Aventis, after it offered to distribute the drug for 1,245 baht per 80mg compared to the original version which costs 25,000 baht.

The government has approved compulsory licensing for Docetaxel, lung cancer drug Erlotinib, breast cancer drug Letrozole and Imatinib, a drug used in the treatment of leukaemia and gastro-intestinal stromal tumours.

When asked about the status of compulsory licensing the authorities replied as follows:

Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsab said the ministry would take no further action on the licences announced for these cancer drugs. The final decision would be made by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.
On Jan 4, then public health minister Mongkol na Songkhla approved ministerial announcements to import generic versions of four cancer drugs for treating patients under the universal health care scheme. He later struck a deal with Novartis after the patent holder agreed to supply its medicine free to more than 900 patients.
Mr Chaiya wanted to review the CL policy introduced by Dr Mongkol, but he found out on Tuesday that it cannot be revoked.

The full article can be found here.

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