HIV :: AIDS Healthcare Foundation hails Thai action on compulsory AIDS drug licensing

US’ largest HIV/AIDS Healthcare, Prevention and Education provider says today’s Thai government’s action will increase availability of lifesaving generic AIDS drugs and result in more people on anti-retroviral treatment in Thailand.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the US? largest HIV/AIDS healthcare and prevention and education provider, which operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, praised the Government of Thailand for its plan to break the patents on some lifesaving drugs, including one for an anti-retroviral drug used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. The government?s plan, first revealed late last week, will be officially announced today in Thailand. According to reports from Thailand?s Public Health Minister, the government intends to break the patents by issuing compulsory licenses to generic manufacturers to produce lower-cost versions of the drugs.

?We congratulate the Government of Thailand and Public Health Minister Mongkol Songkhla for their efforts to step up the availability and use of generic lifesaving drugs for the Thai people, particularly for drugs for its citizens living with HIV/AIDS, ? said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation?s President. ?Thailand has long been seen as a leader in scaling up AIDS treatment for its populace, and we applaud its intention to issue compulsory licenses on certain drugs in order to further its mission and commitment to treat and save Thai people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.?

According to today?s Kaiser Family Foundation Daily HIV/AIDS Report, ??World Health Organization (WHO) regulations allow governments to declare a “national emergency” and issue compulsory licenses without consulting the foreign patent owner. Thailand, which has 580,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, has won international recognition for its quick launch of a national drug program that treats more than 82,000 HIV-positive people. However, the government’s commitment to providing universal access to care is facing increasingly high drug costs.?