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Ministers set to support controversial drugs plan

National governments look set to lend their support to a controversial plan giving EU-based companies a right to sell generic versions of some of their competitors’ medicines.

Under the plan, to be approved by the Council of the EU, manufacturers would be allowed to make generic or very similar versions of competitors’ medicines. The plan relates only to products protected by an extended intellectual property protection, and would only permit export of generic or biosimilar products to a market outside the EU where protection has expired or never existed.

On 16 January, EU ambassadors agreed to back the plan, paving the way for endorsement by the Council. “The draft regulation is expected to remove the competitive disadvantages faced by manufacturers of generics and biosimilars vis-à-vis manufacturers established outside the EU in global markets,” the Council said in a statement.

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