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In an unusual move, 18 big generic drug makers have pledged to work with a leading nonprofit organization to accelerate access to Covid-19 treatments for low- and middle-income countries.

The idea is to encourage brand-name drug makers to negotiate deals to either license rights to their medicines or, where licenses are unnecessary, make it possible to increase manufacturing capacity, according to the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed agency that works with the pharmaceutical industry to widen access to medicines and that helped organized the effort.


“This unprecedented cooperation from companies that are typically competitors represents a breakthrough in our efforts to level the playing field for access to drugs that will be crucial to controlling and defeating this pandemic,” said Charles Gore, the Medicines Patent Pool executive director, in a statement. He noted the goal is to target both new and repurposed treatments to combat Covid-19.

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