Thai, Japan, US free trade talks

Agence France Presse

Bangkok, June 26:

As Thailand prepares for new rounds of free trade talks with Japan and the US, AIDS activists are voicing increasing concern that patients here could lose access to cheap, life-prolonging drugs. Thailand and Japan hold what could be the final round of negotiations in Tokyo, ahead of a possible July signing, while Thai and US officials meet for talks in the US state of Montana.

Supporters insist the pacts are essential to reviving the economy, which contracted slightly. But AIDS activists fear the deals could see them losing access to generic medicines, and Thailand’s medical system could face new market pressures that would make it harder for poor.