EU–Thailand Free Trade Agreement

With national health coverage and an HIV/AIDS treatment programme in place, Thailand nearly guarantees citizens free and universal access to antiretroviral and other medicines on its national essential medicines list. The country is able to provide affordable medicines partly because it makes good use of legal means (known as TRIPS flexibilities) to prevent excessive intellectual property rules from interfering with affordability. All this could change, however, with the adoption of a new free trade agreement with the European Union.

The former Thai government entered into free trade negotiations with the European Union in 2013. Although talks were suspended later that year following a coup d’etat by the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Health Action International remains concerned that Thailand will be pushed to accept strong intellectual property and investment protection rules. If this occurs, medicine prices will escalate and access will be harmed.

We oppose any European Union proposals that will harm Thailand’s ability to provide access to affordable medicines to its citizens. And in addition to calling for greater transparency in the negotiations, we are urging the European Union to continue suspending negotiations (including technical discussions) until a democratically-elected government is established.