The European Union has taken steps to ratify a 2005 decision by the World Trade Organization designed to ensure that intellectual property does not limit access to medicines in developing countries. Peter Mandelson, the EU’s trade commissioner, announced on 30 November that the Union has formally told the WTO that it accepts a protocol amending the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This amendment, approved by the WTO in December 2005, is intended to ensure that generic versions of patented medicines can be secured by developing countries that need them for public health reasons, if necessary without the patent-holder’s permission….
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