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Thailand Breaks Merck's Patent For AIDS Drug

Law360 (December 4, 2006, 12:00 AM EST) -- Going over the heads of big pharmaceutical companies, Thailand has issued the first compulsory license for a generic version of Merck & Co Inc.’s HIV-AIDS drug Efavirenz in an effort to lower costs.

Efavirenz is used as part of antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV-AIDs, usually in conjunction with other HIV-AIDS drugs. The Thai government already uses other off-patent drugs to treat AIDS patients, but as patients live longer and require more advanced therapies, drug costs have skyrocketed.

Thailand’s state-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer, the Government Pharmaceutical...
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