The recent decisions of the Thai Ministry of Public Health to announce the
Government Use of Patents on three patented drugs, i.e., Efavirenz (Stocrin®) of Merck Sharp
and Dohme), Lopinavir+Ritonavir (Kaletra®) of Abbott Laboratory) and Clopidogrel (Plavix®)
of Sanofi- Aventis), based on proposals from the National Health Security Office, have
raised several questions among the public and also the concerned partners as well as the pharmaceutical
industries, both in the country and internationally. Some questions and concerns are due to lack
of information; others are intentional with the aim to create misunderstanding and objections to
the announcements. Thus there is a need to clarify all the questions with the right
information and evidences. The Ministry of Public Health staff had compiled all the questions
and summarized into 10 burning issues that need to be addressed. Relevant answers and evidences have
been collected to address each issue.
The Thai Ministry of Public Health views these decisions on the Government
Use of Patents as a form of social movement that aims at improving access to essential
medicines and the health of the people. The public health interest is thus the main and final goal of
this social movement. We believe that for the sustainability and success of any big social movement,
there need to be a good combination of three factors, i.e., knowledge and evidence, social
support, and political commitment. This forms the so-called "Triangle that moves the mountain". It is
the educated and motivated society that will push for and support the political commitment to
bring real and sustainable success to any social reform movement.
Thus this white paper on "The Facts and Evidences on the 10 Burning Issues
Related to the Government Use of Patents on Three Patented Essential Drugs in Thailand" does
not only aim at answering all the questions raised, but more importantly as a tool to inform
and educate the Thai and Global Society as a whole, on the issue of pharmaceutical patent and
the public health. This is to ensure the success of the future movements to improve the
intellectual property systems so that it is more conducive to social development.
The Thai Ministry of Public Health firmly believes in a moderate and public
interest oriented approach to implement the intellectual property right. We are convinced and
committed to the view that "Public Health interest and the life of the people
must come before commercial interest".
We do need innovative ways to provide incentives for drug research and
development to improve access to essential drugs for all. We believe in what Albert Einstein once said: "We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."
This white paper was prepared with time constraint, so there may be some
unintentional mistakes and we would expect the readers to understand the limitation and also
read it with their own wise and fair judgment.