Thailand To Issue Compulsory Licenses For Antiretrovirals

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Antiretroviral Drugs

U.S. lawmakers should not praise Thailand and other countries forissuing compulsory licenses to manufacture generic versions of patentedantiretroviral drugs, Sally Pipes -- president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, which partially is funded by the pharmaceutical industry -- writes in an opinion piece in The Hill.

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Ina "staggering display of cluelessness," Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine) andSen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have sponsored a resolution that praisesthe Thai government for its decision to issue compulsory licenses and urges Congress not to enforce intellectualproperty standards, according to Pipes, who also serves as a healthcare adviser to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,who is running for the Republican presidential nomination writes. Allenand Brown think that Thailand is "playing the role of Robin Hood ... bystealing property rights from the companies that develop"antiretrovirals, Pipes writes, adding that such a view is "criminallynaive."

Although the "Thai population is suffering from an AIDSepidemic," the country's government is "more interested in using thiscrisis to steal patents and develop its own drug business thanproviding Thai patients with the effective cures," according to Pipes.Thailand's actions "threaten to upset the economic incentives thatallow Western firms to produce novel cures," she writes, adding,"Without patent protections, the drug industry as we know it wouldcollapse, and development of new drugs would be significantlycurtailed."

By encouraging the U.S. to allow other nations toissue compulsory licenses, Brown and Allen would "slaughter the goosethat lays the golden eggs of medical innovation," Pipes writes, adding,"If this trend grows," the world "can say goodbye to the next AIDScure," and that is "not something" Congress should "commend" (Pipes, The Hill, 10/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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