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The EU parliament agreed last week to pass laws to allow European companies over ride drug patents, for developing countries in need. The EU parliament agreed last week to pass laws to allow European companies over ride drug patents, for developing countries in need. The patent override is possible only by European companies, through a special license and only to be exported to developing countries with a public health need.

“The adoption of the compromise package underlines the EU’s commitment to the WTO Decision which allows signatory states to impose compulsory licenses on pharmaceutical companies for the benefit of some of the poorest countries in the world,” said a statement from the EU trade commissioner’s office.

Patents on medicines are expected to reduce access to health care in countries like Sri Lanka, that do not have a domestic drug manufacturing base, because patents outlaw the manufacture of cheaper copies of the same drug.

“The simple possibility of granting compulsory licenses for export of drugs to developing counties will make an important contribution to bring down drug prices in the third wor