[Ip-health] NGOS warn against extra patent protection

Jockey jockey.kit at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 05:15:48 PST 2012


NGOS warn against extra patent protection
 Duangkamon Sajirawattanakul
The Nation December 4, 2012 1:00 am
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) yesterday joined forces in
demanding that the Cabinet refuse to endorse extra protection for drug
patent holders. They are worried that the increased protection under TRIPS
Plus will hurt patients' access to much-needed medicines. These are tighter
measures than those imposed by the earlier Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights under the World Trade Organisation.

"Please don't hurt Thais' health," said Apiwat Kwangkaew, chairman of the
Thai Network of People living with HIV/Aids.

Joining his call are several organisations that have been fighting for
patients' and consumers' rights.

They submitted a written petition to Public Health Minister Pradit
Sinthawanarong amid reports that the Cabinet will today consider the
negotiation framework for the free-trade-area agreement between Thailand
and the European Union.

Apiwat said lower tariffs for certain products could never be compared to
the health of people.

"In addition, the lower tariffs will likely benefit just some investment
groups," he said.

Apiwat said his concerns were growing because the Commerce Ministry had
never disclosed the information on the ongoing FTA negotiations with the EU.

"I am worried that the negotiations will lead to the extension of drug
patents' validity." He insisted that the government should just follow the
protection of intellectual-property rights in line with WTO regulations,
not TRIPS Plus.

Foundation for Consumers board member Kannikar Kijtivejakul questioned why
the Public Health Ministry did not reaffirm its stance against drug
monopoly any more after the government was pushing ahead with the FTA

"If the government goes for the TRIPS Plus, we will petition the Central
Administrative Court," she said.

Pradit yesterday assured the NGOs that when it came to drug issues, the
country would lose nothing in signing the FTA agreement with the EU.

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