Trade opportunities that Thailand might gain from a Free Trade Agreement with the US have to be weighed against increased cost of life-saving drugs which might well become less accessible.
Drug patents remain a major FTA battleground by Prapasri Vasuhirun
Drug patent restrictions by the United States and the European Union in trade negotiations with emerging countries will harm the Thai pharmaceutical industry and affect local patients, say researchers.
Demands to extend patent protection on drugs by up to 10 years would limit access by Thais to necessary medicines, increase the country's healthcare budget and freeze the development of the local pharmaceutical industry, said Jiraporn Limpananont, head of a research team looking at the potential impact of a Thailand-US free trade area (FTA) agreement.
The extension demand first surfaced in 2006 in the sixth round of talks on the long-delayed trade pact with the United States.
Washington at the time called for intellectual property rights provisions related to drugs that were beyond the existing WTO agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (Trips).
In any event, the talks went nowhere and years of political instability have prevented much follow-up on an FTA.
The research team's study on the impact of so-called Trips-Plus regulations shows that extra patent protection for HIV drugs would add one million baht to the cost of treating an HIV-positive Thai throughout his or her lifetime.
According to Usawadee Maleewong, a team researcher, DE could increase drug prices by 67% or about 700-800 billion baht and would reduce the proportion of local drugs in the domestic market by 300 billion baht.
The issue of drug patents should be worrisome as the draft of the Thai-EU FTA negotiation is now awaiting ratification from Parliament. However, no one seems to know what the draft looks like," said Dr Jiraporn.
Dr Usawadee said drug patent restrictions in any FTAs should not exceed the WTO's Trips provisions, and Thailand needed to develop its own intellectual property rights granting system to avoid repeating patent problems.
(Source: Bangkok Post, Drug patents remain a major FTA battleground, 8/12/2010, Prapasri Vasuhirun, link)
drug - same as "pharmaceutical drug" below
pharmaceutical drug (noun) - a chemical substancefor use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medicine, medication (See Wikipedia)
pharmaceutical (adjective) - connected with the production of medicines เกี่ยวกับเภสัชกรรม, เกี่ยวกับยา
patent - legal rights to use an invention and to prevent the invention from being used by others, details of invention must be revealed to government patent office (See Wikipedia)
trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
negotiations - formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement การเจรจาต่อรอง (See Wikipedia)
trade negotiations - when two countries discuss ending barriers to trade (tariffs, quotas) in order to create new opportunities for trade between countries
emerging countries - emerging market economies or countries, countries that are developing industries and growing at a fast pace (See Wikipedia)
harm - hurt, do damage to ความเสียหาย
extend - to include something more ยืดออกไป ขยายออกไป
access - the right or opportunity to have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
limit access - when people can only sometimes get or use something only
healthcare - the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems
budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
freeze development - stop growth and formation
potential - possible เป็นไปได้
impact - an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
Free Trade Area (FTA) - an area that includes one or more countries that have agreed to reduce tarriffs (taxes on imports) to zero or at least a very low level
extension - an increase in the power of effect of something ขยายขอบเขตออกไป
demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses
surfaced - appeared
talks - when people get together and discuss an issue in order to solve a problem or reach an agreement
round of talks - one in a series of many talks
talks - negotiations, formal discussions of problems between different sides in a conflict in order to solve the problem
pact - an agreement
trade pact - an agreement between two countries about trade (reduces barriers and creates business opporunities)
rights - what the law allows you to have and do สิทธิ์ (See Wikipedia)
property - something that can be owned by people (real estate, car, rights to use and idea or show a movie, etc...) (See Wikipedia)
property rights - the right of the owner of a good to control an object (asset, good, real estate, automobile, etc...) and how it is used, this includes: "the right to use the good, the right to earn income from the good, the right to transfer the good to others, the right to enforcement of property rights" (See Wikipedia)
provisions - parts of an agreement or law that deal with particular problems or issues เงื่อนไข
liberalize - remove restrictions and barriers to some activity or business
Intellectual Property (IP) - owning the creations of the mind (just like physical objects you can hold), includes musical, literary, and artistic works, inventions, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents (See Wikipedia)
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) - the WTO agreement on intellectual property (See Wikipedia on TRIPS and intellectual property)
Trips-Plus - agreements and obligations on intellectual property protection that go beyond the TRIPS agreement of the WTO
World Trade Organisation (WTO) - an international organization that began founded in 1995 to supervise and liberalize international trade (See Wikipedia)
instability - unstable, can change suddenly without notice, this makes it difficult to work with
political instability - when the political situation in a country is changing suddenly and unpredictably (causing uncertainty which makes it difficult for people and especially business people to make plans for the future)
Data exclusivity (DE) is another measure that the US and EU are trying to push in order to protect their drug industries. DE would prohibit generic drug producers from seeing testing data of original drug manufactures for five to 10 years after a patent expires.
HIV - the virus that causes the disease of AIDS (See Wikipedia)
HIV-positive - a person who has the HIV virus inside their body (and has tested "positive" in a test)
HIV drugs - drugs that are used to fight the HIV virus and prevent people from developing full-blown AIDS and dieing
regulations - official rules that control the way that things are done ระเบียบปฏิบัติ, ข้อบังคับ
patent protection - legal protection for the owner of a patent that prevents other people from using patent without their permission
exclusive (adjective) - limited to one person or a group, only a small group of people can have it or use it (exclusive ownership การมีกรรมสิทธิ์แต่ผู้เดียว, exclusive power การมีอำนาจแต่ผู้เดียว)
exclusivity (noun) - the situation in which something can only be used by or possessed by a small group of people
data - facts or information used for making calculations or decisions ข้อมูล
Data Exclusivity (DE) - the "protection of clinical test data required to be submitted to a regulatory agency to prove safety and efficacy of a new drug, and prevention of generic drug manufacturers from relying on this data in their own applications. Pharmaceutical companies argue that since test data is so expensive to produce, it is an unfair advantage to let other companies rely on that data without cost. Critics charge that it can act as a restriction to producing a generic copy; that although it would not raise prices of drugs, it would prevent prices from falling due to generic competition; and make it more costly for the poor to gain access to life-saving drugs (e.g. anti-HIV & anti-malarial medications.) Developed countries with innovative pharmaceutical industries (including the United States) have sought data exclusivity provisions in Free Trade Agreements with their trading partners, e.g. DR-CAFTA which includes such a provision" (See Wikipedia)
measure - an action taken to solve a particular problem มาตรการ
push a measure - try to make people or an organization take some action, make them do what you want
prohibit - to not allow; to ban ห้าม
generic drug - a drug which is produced and distributed without patent protection, often uses the name of the chemical as the name and is usually produced after patents ends or expires (See Wikipedia)
expires - ends
patent expires - patent ends (end of ownership of the drug given by patent)
domestic - within the country ในประเทศ
issue - a problem that needs to be considered, a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
worrisome - worrying; causing worry or anxiety ซึ่งน่าวิตก
draft - not in a final form and likely to be changed ร่าง
ratify (verb) - approve, when some agreement or treaty is officially and legally approved by parliament อนุมัติ
ratification (noun) - the act of ratifying and approving an agreement
exceed - to be more than; go beyond a limit เกินกว่าที่กำหนด, เกินปริมาณ
granting - officially giving (changing ownership, not lending for a time period)
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