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GPO to import generic drug from India


March 12, 2008

GPO to import generic drug from India

Thailand's Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) will import the generic version of breast cancer drug Docetaxel from India under Thailand's compulsory licensing (CL) as it was 100-times cheaper than the original version, a senior GPO official was quoted as telling Thai News Agency.

The Indian-based company Dabur Pharma would soon be able to deliver the first batch of the drug to treat some 1,000 lung and breast cancer patients, said Wanchai Supachaturas, the GPO deputy director. On Monday, Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsap announced the ministry will go ahead with the CL policy on four cancer drugs.

The Indian-based company, which recently won the GPO-sponsored bidding to distribute the drug under the CL policy, has offered to sell the drug for Bt15,000 ($468) per dose, or 100 times cheaper than the patented version, said the GPO deputy director.

Wanchai stressed the GPO drug procurement process was carried out on a non-profit basis only for the benefits of poor patients. The agency, he said, would also go ahead with a plan to import the generic versions of the other two cancer drugs - Erlotinib and Letrozole.

Earlier, Novartis (Thailand), patent owner of the life-saving drug Imatinib agreed to provide the medicine free to some patients under the universal healthcare scheme in exchange for Thailand opting to not issue compulsory licences on the drug.
The company would provide Imatinib for patients suffering from leukaemia and gastrointestinal cancer without charge under the Glivec International Patient Assistance Programme (GIPAP).

The free access to the life-saving drugs will be given to those patients who have household income per year less than Bt 1.7 million ($51,515).

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