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WTO members welcome entry into force of amendment to ease access to medicines

Yesterday, the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met to mark the entry into force of the first amendment to WTO rules since the organization was established. The amendment secures a legal pathway to ease access to affordable medicines in developing countries that mostly rely on imports for their medicinal needs.

An amendment to the agreement on intellectual property entered into force on 23 January, once two-thirds of WTO members had accepted the legal change. The amendment gives legal certainty that generic versions of patent-protected medicines can be produced under compulsory licences specifically for export to countries with limited or no pharmaceutical production capacity.

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