Mongkol Na Songkhla
was as of January 2007 the Minister of Health for Thailand
. He was appointed by Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
and sworn into office on October 9, 2006. On February 6, 2008, he was replaced by Chaiya Sasomsab.
Notable among his measures was the making the 30-baht universal healthcare program completely free; after criticism from the The Budget Bureau, the government later cut the universal healthcare program budget from a subsidy of 2,089 baht per head, compared to the previously proposed figure of 1,899 baht. Those eligible for the subsidy were cut from 48 million to 46 million people.
Another notable measure taken while he was Minister of Health was the issuance of compulsory licenses for several patented drugs. The drugs to be covered under the compulsory license included the HIV/AIDS drugs efavirenz and lopinavir/ritonavir, as well as the heart disease therapeutic clopidogrel.
In addition, Mongkol proposed a broadcast ban on all alcohol advertising in Thailand
. Although this proposed ban has yet to be signed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej
, Thai broadcasters and publishers have voluntarily observed it. The ban has been criticized by advertisers and beverage companies for its stifling effect on trade.
Mongkol is a member of the na Songkhla family, who are of Thai Chinese
heritage and maintained good relations with bureaucratic elites during the 18th and 19th centuries. The na Songkhla clan traces its origin back to Chin Yiang Sae Hao, its clan... Read More