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[e-drug] Thai call for self reliance on drug production

  • From: James Love <love@cptech.org>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 16:51:14 -0500 (EST)

E-DRUG: Thai call for self reliance on drug production
[copied from Pharm-Policy; WB]

Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000
From: MSF-Drugs Bangkok <msfdrugs@asianet.co.th>

In relation during the UNCTAD meeting in Bangkok the Thai Health Minister
called for an international public fund for drug development for diseases
prevalent in poor countries. He also called for more self reliance in the
production of medicines. See below article in the Bangkok Post.


Minister calls for drug self-reliance
To curb dependency on costly imports

Nusara Thaitawat and Aphaluck Bhatiasevi
Health Minister Korn Dabbaransi yesterday called on developing countries'
pharmaceutical industries to co-operate to produce quality drugs at
affordable prices in order to reduce dependency on imports.
He also called for an international public fund to be established to
support research and development of new drugs for the poor.
Mr Korn made his statement at the opening of a two-day Buyers-Sellers
Meeting on Pharmaceuticals organised by the Geneva-based International
Trade Centre.

The event was part of the 10th United Nations Conference on Trade and

"We need to work together more closely to sustain our long term
self-reliance for good quality low cost drugs."He said collaboration in the
production and sale of pharmaceutical raw materials and generic drugs, and
the improvement of drug quality in developing countries were important
strategies to reduce dependence on imports. Other strategies were to
rationalise drug use and improve efficiency in drug procurement, he said.

On the international public fund, Mr Korn pointed out that multinational
pharmaceutical companies concentrated their resources on drugs for the
rich, such as cardiovascular and psychological diseases whereas very few
drugs had been developed for diseases prevalent in poor countries.

He said the world drug market amounted to about US$300 billion per year.
"If one percent of this amount is earmarked for this public fund, we would
get $3 billion per year, enough for the development of at least
three-to-five new drugs for the poor," he said.

Denis Belisle, executive director of ITC said Southeast Asian countries
represented at the meeting imported around $4 billion worth of
pharmaceuticals last year-of which 80% originated outside the region.
He said the 80% import figure did not mean the region did not have the
ability to supply drugs. There are an estimated 5,000 small, medium-sized
and large enterprises formulating and manufacturing drugs, though many
operate below capacity, he said.

Mr Belisle said the region needed to overcome the outdated perception that
locally manufactured drugs were of a substandard quality, as adequate
quality control mechanisms were in place in most countries.

Tido von Schoen-Angerer, MD
Medecins sans frontieres, Thailand

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