A modest post, including, as a special bonus, an enlightened understanding of the terms amazingly free and military-installed…
Here we have a story about a developing country, realizing that it can’t afford some of the most expensive medicines necessary for treating AIDS, announcing that it will therefore begin producing generic versions of these very few (just 2 actually) very expensive medications. This is specifically allowed, under the declaration of a health emergency, by WIPO rules. But if Thailand does declare such an emergency, it is almost certain that the pharmaceutical companies or their trade group would appeal this. It may just be posturing by the Thai government to get the best possible bargaining position, when they buy some pharmaceuticals, but this somehow seems a little more premeditated. The Financial Times covers the story:
By Amy Kazmin in Bangkok
Published: February 18 2007 22:12 | Last updated: February 18 2007 22:12
Thailand is likely to widen its use of cheaper, generic versions of patented drugs, unless western drug companies cut the prices of their original medications, the country’s health minister has said.
Dr Mongkol Na Songkhla, health minister, told the Financial Times that the military-installed government was considering whether to ignore the patents for drugs used to treat leading causes of death – such as cancer and heart disease – as it escalates its confrontation with big pharmaceuticals groups.[n.b.:emphasis added by e_f]
Hmmm…So did Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla really say something like “Today, our military-installed government has decided that it will begin producing generic pharmaceuticals?” Now, I have never worked for a “military-installed ” government, but it seems fairly obvious that reminding one’s superiors that they came into power undemocratically is not a career-enhancing move. So, perhaps, Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla is really, really dense. Or did the Financial Times insert that adjective sideways, to indicate disapproval of that action. If so, isn’t this news piece really an editorial? And if it is an editorial, whose interests are being represented here?