World Trade Organization Amends IP Policy to Allow Generics Imports into Poor Nations

January 27, 2017

The World Trade Organization ratified an amendment to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIP) agreement, authorizing developing countries with limited production capacity to import generics when facing a drug shortage.

The revised agreement allows countries to export generics under a compulsory license, which generally is used to produce and sell patented products domestically, and create permanent legal pathways for countries to approve legislation and establish regulations for exporting and importing generics of patented drugs.

The United States and PhRMA had opposed the measure, calling for time restrictions on the patent-infringement exemptions for developing countries in order to protect intellectual property and incentives for drug discovery.

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