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One of the great things that the current interim military government of Thailand has done has been to give cheap access to HIV drugs for AIDS sufferers that cannot afford the usual massive costs. They have done this legally by overriding patents due to a National need. International law allows this. (By the way if my terms are not 100% correct, excuse me, I am no lawyer, but I can clearly see what is going on).

This has been a brave move though, as the massive pharmaceutical companies have put incredible pressure on Thailand to not do this. These companies make huge profits each year and employ scientists to continually tweak their drugs contents so as they can continuously have never ending patents. Patents mean they can charge as much as they want for their drugs as only they are allowed to produce them.

Interesting to note that a democratically elected government with politicians that need to suck up to big business probably would never have done this, although it is clearly the right thing to do. ie. helping the people.

The Pharma companies have now been lobbying their mates in the current USA govt. and all sorts of threats and downgrading of Thailand's ratings have come about.

I am wondering - do these news stories get into the USA media? What are they saying in USA about all this? If anything? Are the reports one sided? Do they cover Thailand's perspectives?

Certainly from this end, any claims that the USA makes that they are a moral world police - for want of better wording - are clearly difficult to believe. Everyone here can clearly see the USA bullying a small country that is helping its people, in order to help the super rich Pharma companies.

By the way, despite all that USA and USA people are popular - but the attitude of the govt and the big companies - hmmm, not so sure about them.
Can't comment on it from a US point of view but from a personal view I think it is the right thing to do. Developing countries can't afford the high costs charged by pharma companies in the developed world so need to import the generic versions from India. I salute Thailand for doing this and Brazil for following a week later.

The drug companies can cry into their $billions while the people who really need the medicine can afford it. Even in the UK there is now a problem where if you buy some drugs they won't offer on the NHS you then have to pay for ALL your medication!
So you have heard about this and Brazil's decision in the UK news? That is interesting.

I am wondering - do these news stories get into the USA media? What are they saying in USA about all this? If anything? Are the reports one sided? Do they cover Thailand's perspectives?

I don't live in the U.S. either so can't really comment, but my personal belief is that most regular U.S. based media reports from a U.S. perspective and if they can show themselves in a favourable light, they do.

I think what Thailand is doing is admirable and the right things to do. Unfortunately often the 'right thing to do' coming from government normally concerns money in some way.
I agree that the right thing to do from governments usually involve money. It is interesting that this coups we have had has been beneficial in that way I reckon. A bunch of retired generals and academics and professionals have been given short term power, and really they don't seem to be so interested in money or power - their time is almost up and so they seem interested in doing what is right for Thailand. YAY!
I am not saying having coups is the way to go and definitely not a fan of the military staying in power for long, but the current coups and the short term power given to the interim govt seems to be overall a good thing.
Here's what they are saying in the US news:


First I heard of this was from you.
His Royal Monkeyness
I read about it on BBC news. I don't watch tv news much as it's too sensationalized and focussed on the US. adverts like "you're all at risk of dying! story at 11pm" try to lure you in for stupid stories. there's rarely any world news, besides Iraq. BBC is much better at providing news on all the continents.

Thailand sounds like a unique case as far as coups go. Usually the military guys are just as power hungry as the politicians. I'm glad it's working out well there. I really, really wish the US was not so ruled by corporations. The country is run by the corporations, not the people. The politicians act in the best interest of the corporations that contribute to their campaigns and for the position they will receive after their term. (What do you want to bet Dick Cheney and/or George Bush get a board of directors position with an oil company after 2008?) It's a complete conflict of interest and should be made illegal.
The wording for overriding the patents in Compulsory Licensing.

News today in Thailand from the Health Minister who has been in the USA trying to explain what Thailand is doing is that the current USA administration isn't interested and represents the drug companies, so he is going ahead with his plan to get aids drugs to the aids patients in an affordable way.
Interestingly he said the Democrat party listened to him and supported him and also one pharmaceutical company (California-based Gilead Sciences) supported him and said that CL had no concerning impact on research and development and on the profits of the pharma companies.

Unrelated but good news is that 3 Thai students have got planets named after them due to their discovery that the Mimosa plant's leaf folding patterns can be used to help predict earthquakes. The Mimosa plant is a highly sensitive plant that folds its leaves in response to different situations. Also a new species of frog and some new insects have been discovered in Thailand. (None of them have AIDS or need any help from the USA.)
Thailand aims to boost traditional medicine use to 25 per cent

Thailand will spend 71.4 million dollars over the next five years to promote the use of Thai traditional medicines over imported pharmaceuticals which now cost the country 9.5 billion dollars a year, health officials said Sunday.

Thailand's Deputy Public Health Minister Morakot Kornkasem said the cabinet had approved a 2.5 billion baht (71.4 million dollar) budget to promote the use of Thai traditional medicines and raise their manufacturing standards, said the Thai News Agency.

The program aims to boost the use of traditional medicines to at least 25 per cent of the market to reduce Thailand's dependence on imported medications and technology, Morakot said.

He warned that newly developed medicines by western pharmaceutical giants are likely to be protected by longer-duration patents, up to 25 years from the current 20-year period, and predicted that such medicines would be marketed at comparatively high prices, making traditional medicines a necessary alternative.

Thailand's health ministry earlier this year irked the international pharmaceutical industry by issuing "compulsory licensing" for generic versions of two anti-HIV/AIDs drugs and one blood-thinning medicine, to make the life-saving medicines more accessible to the poor under its subsidized health care system.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Some good news. USA has agreed to import/buy 6 Thai fruits from Thailand that they didn't previously allow in USA.

YAY! for them and for the farmers here
i am lazy to read about your old comment..
but how is everyone in US now??
The recession 've just begun... ...
i am lazy to read about your old comment..
but how is everyone in US now??
from the news reports, the recession is comming along the way... ...
and how is every one from the rest of the world doing wink.gif
Did any of you see the Thai PM on CNN.

News here is he lied to you on CNN. He said that only one person died in the Oct 6 1976 military crackdown on students - this was a crackdown he helped promote. Actually at least 46 were killed and maybe 100s more went missing.

Also it seems this new government will stop the compulsory licensing of drugs that has been used to help AIDS patients and cancer sufferers. That has made the USA happy.

The USA says it will resume military training with the Thais. How wonderful.

Hmmm, not related to the USA, but sounds like a government member's son who killed a policeman will get off scott free. No investigation. Yep, the lies and corruption has already started.

Kanchana who normally doesn't like listening to or thinking about politics asked if I think there will soon be demonstrations and then another massacre. Hmmm, I don't know, but it does seem that Thailand is heading towards more problems. Will it tear itself apart? I think there is a chance. I hope not.
I don't think the big problem would come from politics again ... but it is more about the economics. this is more concern for the new government.

how sad?? I did not see the news about CNN.. .. Have heard about the criticism about his answer.. ..
I hope your right - but I don't feel confident with this new government - I suspect they are going to annoy too many people after a while and things will get messy.

I agree that the economy and money is this government's main aim - so I expect the environment, culture, Buddhism, ... will all take a hit in favour of money.

Interestingly since the election, in my area, there has been a very noticeable increase in Mercedes and BMWs driving around. Not sure why.
i saw the cnn report when i was in laos last week. and a few news reports on thai tv are convincing me that the corruption, nepotism, bloodletting (not yet, literally) and lies have started already...

...not looking great at the moment. and the guesthouse i stay in is charging 100baht for a chang yai! (38b in 7/11)
I was just about to write and ask what a Chang Yai was but then I figured it out - it is a large bottle of beer Chang.

Ha ha - with that sort of comment you should be writing in the Thai Visa forums. Or perhaps add to it that the advertised screening of some TV show wasn't shown at the advertised time on your pay TV - and you could be a letter writer to the Bangkok Post.

You saw the interview on CNN - I reckon that would've been interesting. I take it he didn't make you feel proud to be Thai?

I definitely agree that the political corruption is turned back on again at full tilt. I think actually Samak might try to do the right thing at times and stop some of it, but I think he is actually reasonably powerless and has to mainly do what he is told from the Soccer team owning gentleman.

And who is this Dark Hand he is talking about? I take it, it is Gen Prem, but no one will say it?

Hmmm, it is a sad day that politics in Australia is actually looking much brighter than politics in Thailand. At least when that conniving, greedy, racist, four eyed little puppet of Bush was around I could feel happy that I wasn't in Australia. offtopic.gif
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