To:   info-policy-notes <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:  [IPN] "USTR sends new letter to Thailand - decision on CL is "one
      for Thailand to make"

This is a follow up to the letter we sent on January 22, 2000 to Thomas
Rosshirt, the Vice President's spokesperson for Foreign Policy.

The White House has just provided a letter that was sent an hour ago to
Thailand.  The new letter, which was requested by CPT, Act Up, Doctors
Without Borders (know as MSF outside the US) and the other public health
groups, tells the Thai government that the US will raise no objection to
the issuance of a TRIPS compliant compulsory licenses for medicines, and
that the decision to issue such a license is "one for Thailand to

Thailand has been in a dispute with the US since 1998 over compulsory
licensing of ddI, a US government invention for the treatment of
HIV/AIDS.  Thailand has an HIV/AIDS population of about 1 million
persons.  Bristol-Myers Squibb has worked with US trade officials for
years to block the use of compulsory licensing of ddI.  Today's letter
represents an important change in 12 years of US trade pressures against
Thailand on pharmaceutical drugs, and it will be a signal to other
countries, such as the Dominican Republic, that are currently
considering legislation to provide compulsory licensing of essential

  Jamie Love

<-------------------begin USTR letter--------------------->

                     WASHINGTON, D.C. 20508

                    Jan 27 2000

Mr. Paisan Tan-Ud
Chairman of PHA Network of Thailand

Dear Mr. Paisan Tan-Ud:

I am writing in response to your letter to President Clinton
regarding efforts to improve access to treatment and care for HIV
positive Thai citizens.  We recognize and support the Government
of Thailand's goal of extending effective health care to all its
citizens-including people now living with AIDS.  This is a goal
we fully endorse and believe can be achieved while providing
appropriate protections for intellectual property.

As the President announced last December in his speech to the WTO
ministerial, and the Vice President reiterated in his January
speech at the United Nations Security Council, the United States
is committed to helping developing countries gain access to
affordable medicines, including those for HIV/AIDS.  As a result,
the United States will ensure the application of U.S. trade law
related to intellectual property remains sufficiently flexible to
respond to public health crises.

We encourage Thai officials to explore all options for extending
access to effective treatments, including ongoing direct dialogue
with pharmaceutical manufacturers.  But the final choice is one
for Thailand to make.

If the Thai government determines that issuing a compulsory
license is required to address its health care crisis, the United
States will raise no objection, provided the compulsory license
is issued in a manner fully consistent with the WTO Agreement on
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

We share with the Government of Thailand a belief that access to
modern pharmaceuticals can be enhanced in a manner that assures
the safety and efficacy of the drugs, preserves intellectual
property rights, and promotes the worldwide pursuit of newer,
more effective medicines.


                         Joseph S. Papovich
                         Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for
                         Services, Investment and Intellectual

James Love, Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367        |
Washington, DC 20036  | mailto:[log in to unmask]
Voice 1.202.387.8030  | fax 1.202.387.8030

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