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Joining Trans-Pacific group 'will have no impact on Compulsory Licensing of drugs'

Jun 22. 2020
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By THE NATION

The Department of Intellectual Property has eased public concerns about Thailand losing the the right to Compulsory Licensing (CL) of drugs if it joins the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“The CPTPP does not prohibit the use of drug CL or has any regulations that will force Thailand to extend the protection period of drug CL or allow the monopoly of drug tests,” the department said.

The drug CL under CPTPP will comply with the regulations of World Trade Organization (WTO) that focuses on the use for non-commercial purposes or to remedy emergency situations such as the Covid-19 outbreak, the department added.

“The Thai government will still be able to manufacture, sell or import drugs at a lower price from other sellers during emergency situations despite the drugs being protected under CL,” it added.

The CPTPP also allows member countries to use their own discretion in considering which situations are emergency as different countries have different priorities in handling problems.

“As for the forced extension of drug CL and monopoly of drug tests, these two issues are not under the scope of the CPTPP although they had been introduced by the United States when forming the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the former version of CPTPP,” said the department.

“When the US left the partnership in 2017, the remaining 11 members decided to revoke the two issues, therefore Thailand will not be forced to extend drug CL or allow the monopoly of drug tests under CPTPP.

“It is unlikely that the two issues will be reintroduced in the future, as it will require unanimous agreement from all member countries, and Thailand will have the right to veto the issue if we join the group,” the department said.

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