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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.

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