Cheaper Generics for poor Countries

European Commission backs bypassing drug patents for poor nations

The European Commission backs the push by least developed countries to get access to cheaper generic drugs with an indefinite exemption from World Trade Organization intellectual property rules. The carve-out, being debated in the WTO, lets select countries import or produce generic medicines, regardless of patents. “It means producers of generics and international programs can supply drugs like HIV treatment in affected countries without fear of patent infringement suits,” the Commission said in a statement. The WTO granted a temporary exemption to a group known as “least developed countries.” The measure now moves to the Council, which needs to determine the EU’s position in the WTO Special Council on Intellectual Property. That body is expected to make a decision on the indefinite exemption issue at a meeting on October 15 to 16.

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