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WTO Amends Intellectual Property Rules to Boost Poor Countries’ Medicine Access

© AFP 2021 / FRED DUFOURA person gets out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarter in Geneva (File)
A person gets out of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarter in Geneva (File) - Sputnik International
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WTO members have agreed to amend the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

A label indicating the seats for the Russian delegation is seen prior to the start of a World Trade Organization ministerial meeting that gave its second and final approval for Russia's membership in the trade body after a record 18-year quest to join, on December 16, 2011 in Geneva - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — World Trade Organization (WTO) members have agreed to amend the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to increase access to generic medicines in developing countries, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a press release on Monday.

"This is an extremely important amendment. It gives legal certainty that generic medicines can be exported at reasonable prices to satisfy the needs of countries with no pharmaceutical production capacity, or those with limited capacity," Azevedo stated.

Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Lichtenstein, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates ratified the protocol in recent days, meeting the two-thirds threshold needed to amend the agreement.

The amendment will permanently allow poor countries to seek necessary medicines from third country producers, the release explained. Additionally, export countries can grant licenses for generic versions of needed medicines to countries lacking production capacity.

The amendment is the first change to the TRIPS agreement since its adoption in 1995.

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