Intended for healthcare professionals


Poor countries press for extension of exemption from drug patents

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 20 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5605
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

Developing countries are still waiting to hear whether they will be granted a permanent exemption from rules on intellectual property that enables them to have access to generic drugs.

No agreement was reached after two days of talks at the World Trade Organization on 15 and 16 October, and the decision on the exemption will be deferred to next month.

Since the launch of the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in 1995, low income countries have been exempt from intellectual property rules on some items such as drugs. The exemption, which enables poor countries to export and produce generic drugs regardless of patent, has been granted on a time limited basis, and the current waiver is due to expire in January 2016.

The 48 countries classed as the world’s …

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