Members that have not yet accepted the TRIPS amendment have until the end of December 2017 to do so, the WTO said. Members decided to specifically amend the TRIPS Agreement in order to adapt the rules of the global trading system to the needs of people in poor countries. This follows repeated requests from the multilateral system to adopt the amendment, the last of which was the last at the UN General Assembly`s high-level meeting on ending AIDS in June 2016. 2017: Amendment of the TRIPS Agreement entered into force (legislative text) (press release) The amendment entered into force after two-thirds of WTO members ratified it. The number of members needed grew slowly when new members joined the WTO over the years, reaching 164 members. The WTO TRIPS Council recently discussed the TRIPS amendment to the TRIPS Agreement in the field of public health. A number of delegations invited WTO members that had not yet accepted the amendment to do so expeditiously and requested that work be undertaken to make it operational. During the relevant discussions on the report of the United Nations High-level Panel on Access to Medicines, one delegation also recalled the Panel`s recommendation to revise the system of compulsory export licensing. On 6 December 2005, WTO members approved amendments to the WTO Agreement on Intellectual Property (TRIPS) to make permanent a decision on patents and public health, originally adopted in 2003. This was formally incorporated into the TRIPS Agreement, after two-thirds of WTO members accepted the Protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement. The amendment entered into force on 23 January 2017 In force on 1 January 2017, it replaced the 2003 derogation for members who adopted the amendment.
The current list and map of members that have accepted the Protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement are available here. The acceptance rate has increased considerably in recent years as members become familiar with the practical implications of the ad hoc amendment: in the last two years, about 37% of acceptance decisions have been filed after the WTO General Council considered the benefits of entry into force. Members who have not yet accepted the ad hoc amendment have until the end of December 2017 to do so. In the meantime, they may refer to the 2003 Decision on the exemption from access to affordable medicines from third countries. This amendment provides a safe and sustainable legal basis for potential exporters and importers to enact legislation and create the necessary means to allow countries with limited or non-limited production capacity to import affordable generic medicines from countries where the medicines are patented. More and more WTO members are taking practical steps to transpose the system into their legislation. Most global exports of medicines are covered by laws that allow them to export under this system, provide potential beneficiaries with new opportunities to access a wider range of potential suppliers and enable new innovative sourcing strategies. In addition to the entry into force of the ad hoc amendment in January 2017, another important development has been the significant increase in the number of pharmaceutical exporting countries adopting the necessary legislation for the use of the export system. .