According to the military junta in Bangkok, Thailand is planning to break the foreign patents of 14 HIV/AIDS, cancer and heart drugs.
The 14 drugs targeted by the Health Ministry also included antibiotics.The ministry has announced compulsory licences for three of the 14 drugs, allowing it to buy or make generic versions of the two HIV/AIDS drugs and a heart disease medicine.
Foreign drug makers say Thailand's military-appointed government gave no notice to the affected companies before issuing the compulsory licences.
Last month, the Health Ministry issued compulsory licences for the heart disease drug Plavix, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis and Abbott Laboratories' Kaletra to treat HIV/AIDS, after a similar move on another AIDS drug last year.
Under World Trade Organization rules, a government is allowed to declare a national emergency and license the production or sale of a patented drug without the permission of the foreign patent owner.
I suppose a health care system that is a total disaster is an emergency -- but I don't think this is what the WHO had in mind.