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Ecuador “can ignore” drug patents

Ecuador’s laboratories are being encouraged to ignore licences and patents in order to boost the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in the country.

The country’s laws and international treaties permit Ecuador to disregard patents “in the name of human health”, president Rafael Correa said.

On a radio broadcast, he added that the incentives were created to raise national production of medicines – currently representing about 22% of drug sales – and the use of generic drugs.

Drug companies patent products to stop them from being copied and marketed by others for a certain amount of time. Once the patents expire, the drugs can be marketed openly.

Copyright Press Association 2009

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