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Israel is a step closer to joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development after the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday decreed in favor of limiting the wiggle room Israel's generic drugmakers have, which has irritated the United States.

Industry and Trade Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has argued in favor of amending Israeli law to make it more palatable to the west, while the Health Ministry has opposed the idea. Ben-Eliezer is heading negotiations on Israel's behalf with American and OECD officials in respect to amendments to the Israeli law. He appealed to Netanyahu after the finance and health ministries rejected concessions by Israel. Netanyahu has said has found in favor of Ben-Eliezer's position.

OECD officials have spelled out that joining the organization is contingent on ending the dispute with the U.S. over the law. The U.S., under pressure from brand-drug companies, demand that Israel improve protection of intellectual property rights, not least because of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the biggest maker of generic drugs in the world. Big Pharma has long accused Jerusalem of failing to properly regulate how Teva plugs its drugs around the world.