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The EU and the WTO | Geneva, 6 November 2015

Cheaper medicines for the least developed countries – Commission welcomes the WTO decision

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed today to grant a waiver to least developed countries (LDCs) in relation to its rules on patents for pharmaceuticals. The move will facilitate their access to cheaper medicines for the next 17 years.

EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström said: "Even if this waiver is not quite as far-reaching as we would have hoped, it is very good news that there is a consensus in favour of a very long waiver period. This should provide the legal certainty and policy space needed by the least developed countries to ensure better access to medicines"

The European Union supported the initial proposal by least developed countries for a permanent waiver for as long as they remained LDCs (see related news).

The WTO decision today complements the Commission funded development programmes for supply of essential medicines in developing countries and reinforces the coherence of the EU approach on development policy. This is also good news in the run up to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. We hope this will be the first of a series of decisions that will be taken there in favour of LDCs.

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