Registration of Thai AIDS drug planned in US

Apiradee Treerutkuarkul
Bangkok Post
23 November 2004

THAILAND - Thailand will register the medical formula of a locally-made AIDS drug in the United States in a bid to produce medicine for HIV-positive people in developing countries under the US President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Tongchai Thavichachart, director of the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), said yesterday the state enterprise under the Public Health Ministry was in the process of registering the formula of GPO-VIR S-30, a low-cost AIDS treatment pill, with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), so that it could produce the drug for export on a par with the USFDA standards.

The GPO would also send a team of officials to discuss the matter with the USFDA on Dec 7, he said. At the International AIDS Conference held in Bangkok in mid-July, the US administration stated its intention to buy low-cost anti-retroviral pills from Thailand for patients in developing countries under the PEPFAR programme. Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said she hoped the US agency would quickly approve the Thai proposal.

She said her ministry would speed up the opening of a new state pharmaceutical factory to increase GPO-VIR production capacity so as to meet an expected rise in demand once the US gives the Thai medicine its stamp of approval. "It is good news for Thailand that our anti-AIDS drugs will contribute huge benefits for HIV-positive people in the global community as soon as the US government approves the medical standard for GPO-VIR," the minister said.

Washington has launched a US$15 billion (600 billion baht) fund for PEPFAR to help curb HIV infection and assist people living with HIV/AIDS in 14 afflicted countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Vietnam.

However, Samlee Jaidee, an adviser to the Drug Study Group, questioned the Thai and US governments' actions on the distribution of AIDS drugs when only around 50,000 out of the 120,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Thailand had access to anti-retroviral treatment.

She also said the US government was being hypocritical in seeking low-cost drugs for HIV-positive people in developing countries.

It should instead be providing them with brand-name drugs produced by US-based pharmaceutical companies.

Return to: CPTech Home -> Main IP Page -> IP and Healthcare -> Thailand Page