More than a decade after World Trade Organization member states approved the first legislative amendment to a WTO agreement, the amendment to the international intellectual property agreement came into force. Five other MEPs have ratified the amendment in recent days, moving supporters above the minimum needed for the amendment to promote the export of medical devices to be manufactured under compulsory licence. The list and card of members who have accepted the minutes of amendment to the TRIPS agreement are available here. Acceptance has increased considerably in recent years, members are becoming familiar with the practical impact of the CHANGE in TRIPS: in the last two years, about 37% of adoption instruments have been tabled as a result of a review of the benefits of entry into force in the WTO General Council. Members who do not yet have to accept the TRIPS amendment have until the end of December 2017. In the meantime, they can refer to the 2003 decision to exempt access to affordable medicines from third countries. According to the WTO, members who do not yet accept the TRIPS amendment have until the end of December 2017 to do so. The amendment to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the first since the WTO agreements opened in 1995. Least developed countries are not required to apply for patents on medical devices by 2033 under a recent WTO agreement.
The initial amendment was put forward by the African group. In recent years, some observers have asked members to amend the agreement to make it more effective before it is included. Some LDCs, such as Uganda and Mozambique, are developing their own generic drug production capacity. The TRIPS agreement was amended by the Protocol of 6 December 2005, which came into force on 23 January 2017. The amendment introduces a new Article 31bis in the agreement, as well as an annex and annex. These provide the legal basis for WTO members to grant compulsory special licences for the production and export of affordable generic drugs to other members who are unable to produce enough medicines for their patients. Flexibilities such as compulsory licensing are included in the TRIPS agreement – governments can issue compulsory licenses to allow companies to manufacture a patented product or use a patented process under license without the patent holder`s consent, but under certain conditions to preserve the legitimate interests of the patent holder. (1) The protocol amending the TRIPS agreement came into force on 23 January (local time) by 110 Member States (including Japan), representing two-thirds of WTO members, in accordance with the provision of the World Trade Organization agreement (`WTO agreement`).