[Ip-health] Aids groups seek help to counter 'ever-green patents'
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Tue Sep 13 03:07:32 PDT 2011
Aids groups seek help to counter 'ever-green patents'
People with HIV/Aids have called for the Intellectual Property Department to
amend the application process for drugs to pave the way for greater access
to life-saving medicines amid plans by producers to extend patents for
longer periods following a small adjustment to drug formulas.
IP Department director general Pajchima Tanasanti said they would consider
Aids patients' concerns in approving patents for drug companies because the
issue could cause difficulties for them in accessing drugs in the future.
The move by Aids patients' network came because they fear most patent
holders in Thailand want to hold "ever-green patents" so they can retain
profits from popular drugs for as long as possible.
An ever-green patent means holders - typically large, multinational drug
companies - can apply for new patents by making only minor changes to drug
formulas. The strategy allows them to keep an existing patent in play for
Pajchima said the department would try to take care on the issue because it
had serious worries it would affect public access to affordable medicines.
The department would also name a representative from Aids groups for a
subcommittee looking at changes to the Patent Act to increase the chance for
patients to be involved in law changes.
According to the Health Systems Research Institute, 96 per cent of the 2,034
patents granted over the past decade were categorised as "ever-green". This
has caused difficulty for patients seeking to get access to cheaper
life-saving drug because it gave "unlimited protection" for medicine
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