Issue Date: Mar 15, 2013
Last month I ran into Ecuador’s popular president Rafael Correa as he was campaigning for a third term—he has since been re-elected with a record majority—and recalled his path-breaking decision to issue compulsory licences (CLs) to ensure cheaper medicines for his expanding public health programme. The decree, the first such in Latin America, was issued in October 2009 for some much-needed drugs and, six months later, the Ecuadorian government handed out the first CL on US multinational Abbott’s ritonavir, an AIDS medication.
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