ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
August 10, 2007
Mandelson warns Thailand against drug pricing
European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has warned the Thai government against moves that would force drugmakers to drop their prices on expensive medication, the Financial Times reported on August 10.
In a letter seen by the business daily, Mandelson wrote that Thailand "may be taking a new approach to medicines," adding that the country's military government "stated that if drug companies wish to do business in Thailand, they should offer their drugs for no more than five per cent above the generic cost."
"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."
Thailand has clashed with Western governments in the past over threats to extend the use of compulsory licenses, which are allowed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules so that countries can temporarily suspend patent protections on medicines that safeguard public health.