Experts slam monopoly by large companies through abuse of patents

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national May 19, 2018 01:00

By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA

THE NATION

EFFORTS to claim monopoly privileges beyond periods that are normally allowed by law – or “evergreening” – have plagued Thailand’s patent registration system, according to research findings.

Of the 2,188 patent requests submitted between 2000 and 2010, 84 per cent were the “evergreening type”, the study found.

Aids Access Foundation’s representative Chalermsak Kittitrakul has estimated that evergreening had already caused more than Bt8.5 billion in damage to Thailand over the past two decades.

He was speaking at a recent academic seminar organised by the Thai Drug Watch Centre to highlight Thailand’s need to come to grips with the problem of patent evergreening.

Chalermsak

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that Valsartan could no longer be patented after the original patent expires because the second patent involved just a manufacturing method that even pharmacy students knew about.

However, as the legal battle between the patent holder and a Thai firm dragged on for more than seven years, the damage done to the latter’s reputation during the battle were so serious that it had to sell its business to a foreign investor.

Usawadee

“Original-drug manufacturers have widely used the evergreening tactic. They have sought patents for products that get some minor revamp, something that is not innovative enough to warrant patent protection,” Dr Usawadee Sutapuk, a researcher and lecturer at Payap University’s Faculty of Pharmacy, said at the same seminar.

She said that of 31 patents granted between 2000 and 2010, 70 per cent fell into the “evergreening category”.

“This means 70 per cent of the patents should have not been granted,” she emphasised.

In Usawadee’s opinion, the evergreening problem and the Intellectual Property Department’s workload would be reduced if major changes were made to the patent-review process.

Yupadee

Assistant Professor Yupadee Sirisinsuk, a deputy manager at the Thai Drug Watch Centre, said if evergreening persisted, pharmaceutical users would suffer and have difficulty accessing necessary drugs.

“With evergreening of patents, drugs are very expensive,” she said.

Yupadee hoped the Intellectual Property Department would strictly screen patent requests based on its manual.

Usawadee also expressed hope that the channel to oppose patent requests would become more efficient.

“I used to issue an opinion opposing a patent request before. But I could not know whether the Intellectual Property Department had taken my opinion into account,” she said.

Peeracha

Peeracha Thanawattanawanich, a representative of Siam Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, said she hoped the patent database would be up to date and easier to use.

“Today, it’s like generic-drug manufacturers have to search relevant information all on their own,” he said.

He said the Intellectual Property Department should also provide counselling services and access to experts, so that Thai entrepreneurs could avoid any patent problems.

Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul, an independent researcher and a vice president of the FTA Watch, earlier said that not many Thai firms had the courage to fight a legal battle with big multinational firms.

“In Thailand’s pharmaceutical industry, drug prices will drop only after 20-year patents of original drugs expire. But original-drug manufacturers keep seeking new patents [through evergreening efforts],” she lamented.

According to her, multinational firms have sued at least three Thai firms over drug manufacturing.

The first case involved Valsartan, which is used to treat blood pressure and a congestive heart. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Thai firm on May 9 and ordered the patent held by Novartis cancelled.

Another case surrounded Finasterine, a medication used mainly to treat an enlarged prostate or scalp hair loss in men. Neither the multinational firm nor the Thai firm in the case lost their case. Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that these two firms used different manufacturing techniques.

In the third case, Pfizer had sued MacroPhar, accusing the latter of violating its patent on Celecoxib – a non-steroid anti-inflammatory. This case is still pending in court.

Kannikar said a network of patients had also protested against a request by a firm to patent combined sofosbuvir and ledipasvir (a treatment for Hepatitis C).

 

Source :  The Nation Multimedia

Father and 2nd relative arrested over repeated rape of girl

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Breaking News May 18, 2018 19:08

By THE NATION

A THAI MAN wanted for raping his own 15-year-old daughter, and another adult male relative wanted for the same offence, were both arrested in Pathum Thani province on Friday.

 

The two accused, whose names are being withheld to protect the rape victim’s identity, have denied the allegations.

The girl was reportedly raped by her own father and three other male relatives on several occasions over the past year and is now two months’ pregnant.

The two men were arrested at two different locations in Lat Lum Kaew district following a police complaint filed by the victim’s mother on April 11.

The girl has been interviewed by police in front of a multi-disciplinary committee and a hospital has confirmed her pregnancy.

The Pathum Thani Court on Thursday approved an arrest warrant for four suspects, including the girl’s father, a senior relative of grandfather-equivalent rank (who is also a former public figure) and her two paternal uncles.

The two uncles escaped an attempt by police to arrest them on Friday.

The four men are alleged to have raped the girl on various separate occasions for nearly a year without the knowledge of her mother, who worked from early morning until evening every day.

The victim’s mother noticed the girl becoming increasingly quiet and depressed last month, while also developing signs of being pregnant. After repeated questioning, the girl finally told her mother about the multiple rape attacks.

Pathum Thani’s Social Development and Human Security Office head Rungthiwa Suddaen on Friday visited the girl at the Pathum Thani Children and Family Home.

The girl told officials that an uncle had raped her once in June last year when she was taking care of him over a health issue and then her own father, – who took methamphetamines and often asked her to give him a massage, raped her on five separate occasions and threatened her not to tell anyone.

The grandfather-equivalent relative invited the girl to help with his business and raped her on 20 occasions, the girl said, while another uncle raped her three times at her home when she was alone.

According to the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation, which provides aid and legal consultations to victims of sex assault or harassment cases, half of all rapes in Thailand as reported in 158 national news stories in 2011 were committed by family members (father, step-father, grandfather or brothers) or acquaintances (neighbour, friend, teacher or monk).

Only 33 per cent of such cases were committed by strangers.

 

Source :  The Nation Multimedia

Iraqi troops kill 12 Islamic State militants, southwest of Kirkuk

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Iraqi F16 fighter jet. Archival photo.

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi fighter jets have killed twelve Islamic State members, including a prominent leader, southwest of Kirkuk, a security source from the province said on Thursday.

“Federal police troops, backed by army jets, started operations to target the terrorists havens, southwest of Kirkuk,” the source told AlSumaria News. “The troops destroyed, in the evening, six rest houses of IS and killed four militants in al-Rashad town.”

The army jets, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, “targeted one of the havens near al-Zab region, west of Kirkuk, leaving eight militants, including a prominent leader, killed.”

On Tuesday, the Security Media Center said Federal Police troops managed to killed five prominent Islamic State members who took part in the attack against a village in southwest of Kirkuk.

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Source : Iraqi News

Iraqi court sentences Russian terrorist to death over joining Islamic State

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi criminal court has sentenced a Russian-national terrorist to death over joining Islamic State militant group.

“The Criminal Court sentenced a Russian terrorist to death over joining and fighting with Islamic State group,” Agence France Presse quoted a judicial source as saying.

Baghdad courts, according to the source, “sentenced since beginning of the year more than 300 foreign terrorists to life and death.”

“The same court released on Wednesday two Iraqi women who were accused of joining Islamic State,” the sources added.

Many IS members were detained during liberation battles that freed cities, which were recaptured by the militant group in 2014.

In April, the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad has sentenced five female militants, two of whom are Azeri and three others are from Kyrgyzstan, to death over involvement with Islamic State. Life sentences were issued against five female convicts, two of whom are Russian, an Azeri one and a French one.

Moreover, the Iraqi Justice Ministry has announced carrying out death sentences against 13 convicts, most of whom are involved in terrorism. Six Turkish females were sentenced to death over affiliation to Islamic State.

The Baghdad Court sentenced, in March, 13 Turkish women to death over the same charge. The same court sentenced number of women to life and death over belonging to Islamic State. Some of them were Azeri, Turkish and Iraqi.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the militant group, previously in December, however, observers warn that the group still poses a security threat with sleeper cells.

 

Source :  Iraqi News

Three civilians wounded in bomb blast, south of Baghdad

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Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Three civilians were wounded in a bomb blast, south of Baghdad, a security source was quoted saying on Friday.

Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said, “a bomb placed near stores at Hor Rajab region, south of Baghdad, went off today, leaving three civilians wounded.”

Security troops, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, “cordoned off the accident spot and transferred the wounded to nearby hospital for treatment.”

A total of 68 Iraqis were killed and another 122 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in April, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Source :  Iraqi News

Two people killed, injured in bomb blast, northeast of Diyala

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Diyala (IraqiNews.com) Two people were killed and injured in a bomb blast in a village at the outskirts of Diyala, an official said on Friday.

“A bomb, went off at a village inhabited by farmers at the outskirts of Khanaqin, northeast of Diyala, leaving one person killed and another injured,” the source told Alghad Press.

“The victim’s body was taken to forensic medicine department, while the injured was transferred to hospital for treatment,” the source added.

A total of 68 Iraqis were killed and another 122 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in April, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

As many as 3,298 civilians were killed and 4,781 others were wounded in 2017, excluding Anbar civilian casualty figures for November and December, which are not available, UNAMI said in a report in December.

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Source :  Iraqi News

Iraqi security arrest 4 Islamic State members north of Mosul

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The Iraqi Security Media Center said the police command in the town of Tal Keif arrested four memebrs of Daesh (Islamic State) who “confessed to committing crimes against innocent civilians and security members.

The center said the four were wanted for justice based on the Iraqi anti-terrorism law.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State militants in December 2017, ending a three-year military campaign against the group to retake areas they had occupied to proclaim a self-styled “caliphate”. But the group  has carried out several attacks against security and civilians since then.

Mosul was Islamic State’s capital and base of operations in Iraq. It was from its Grand Nuri Mosque thart IS founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed the group’s rule. Iraqi forces recaptured the city last July after an operation that lasted for more than eight months.

 

Source :  Iraqi News