I have been going back and forth in my own mind about my initial reaction to Abbott's decision to not sell new medicines in Thailand pending a shift in the policy of patent theft on the part of the junta-run government there. At first I thought, this will only make the perception worse. But then it struck me it is not as if compulsory licensing has actually made any medicines any more available in any country. The only people who benefit from compulsory licensing appear to be the small circle of generic companies, government bureaucrats and media-thirsty NGOs who use the tactic to use drug companies to divert attention away from the real problems causing disease. Just as free food does not solve the problem of world hunger and free measles shots has not eradicated measles (500,000 African kids a year still die from measles) the short sick history of CL has proven that low cost copycats of drugs do not improve health in third world countries. Just the opposite, it usually makes things worse, encouraging piracy, profiteering and counterfeiting. I have said it before and I will say it again, the NGOs who support CL are more interested in killing drug companies than in saving lives.
Good for Abbott and Novartis for refusing to sell new medicines. Other companies should follow suit... and set up their own distribution programs as necessary.