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The Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health agreed at the WTO Ministerial in Doha in November 2001 was an important step forward in the campaign for affordable medicines. It affirmed the primacy of public health over intellectual property rights, and the rights of governments to make full use of the public health safeguards in TRIPS. Ministers also recognised a fundamental imbalance in the TRIPS Agreement and promised to find a solution before the end of 2002. This concerns the way the TRIPS Agreement, by restricting countries like India from exporting cheap generic medicines, will prevent many developing countries from finding affordable sources of vital new medicines.

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