Thailand has given patent-pending status to several applications for specific cannabis extracts made by GW Pharmaceuticals and partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical, according to a VOA News report.
According to cannabis advocates in Thailand, members of the Thai Department of Intellectual Property rushed the initial inspection of patent applications by GW Pharmaceuticals and its partner.
According to Thai law, it is impossible to patent plant extracts; the patents filed violate that law, advocates said. While some of the applications cover legitimate medicine recipes, activists said not all of them were.
“But there has been a few of them that actually just patent the substance itself — the substance that’s derived from cannabis like they were trying to patent THC, CBD, THCA, you know all those named substances, the active ingredients of cannabis. It actually violated the patent policies of Thailand but the fact that the actual application is still pending within the actual patent application process without being cancelled, that’s a big problem that we are having right now.” — Chokwan Kitty Chopaka, activist with Highland Network, via VOA News
The fact that the patent applications were approved and moved to the pending stage and not canceled outright has left many outraged in Thailand. There have been fears since before medical cannabis was legalized that foreign interests would show up and control the market. GW Pharmaceuticals already controls the patent for Sativex, the first cannabis-based prescription drug in the U.S.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha even addressed the controversy, saying that he might use powers granted to him by Thailand’s military government to cancel the patents himself. It remains to be seen exactly what will happen next in the patent process.’s
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