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The Doha Declaration was adopted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on November 14, 2001, to clarify the relationship between the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies and the right of nations to pursue public health policies aimed at increasing citizens’ access to medications. The declaration affirmed that although companies have exclusive rights on their patented drugs, which are set forth in the Trade-Related Aspects of Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, TRIPS cannot be used to prevent countries from taking measures to protect public health.

The Doha Declaration was important for developing countries, where poor populations had low or limited access to medicine because of high prices resulting from patent rights. The declaration reaffirmed exceptions to intellectual property rights regime, such as compulsory licensing, and later led ...

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