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Thailand: From Village Safety to Universal Access

Thailand: From Village Safety to Universal Access

(p.125) 5 Thailand: From Village Safety to Universal Access
Achieving Access
Joseph Harris
Cornell University Press

While Chapter 2 explored the historic contributions of the Rural Doctors’ Movement to universal healthcare in Thailand, this chapter explores the critical role played by the Drug Study Group and activist professionals in the Ministry of Public Health in expanding access to AIDS medication in Thailand. In a political context that increasingly placed importance on citizens’ rights, the chapter shows how this professional movement drew on its legal knowledge to empower AIDS NGOs who used the courts to challenge pharmaceutical companies; to promote the government’s use of generic drugs; to build state (and civil society) capacity to address concerns related to the drugs’ cost; and to resist pressures from the United States and powerful drug companies.

Keywords:   Thailand, history, Drug Study Group, pharmaceuticals, essential medicine, HIV/AIDS, AIDS drugs, access, intellectual property law, patent

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