The protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement, which was agreed in 2005, is intended to formalize a decision to ease poorer WTO members’ access to affordable medicines. The protocol allows exporting countries to grant compulsory licences (one that is granted without the patent holder’s consent) to their generic suppliers to manufacture and export medicines to countries that cannot manufacture the needed medicines themselves. These licences were originally limited to predominantly supplying the domestic market.
With Belize’s acceptance, over 64 per cent of WTO members have submitted their instruments of acceptance for the TRIPS protocol. The protocol will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted it.
The up-to-date list and map of members that have accepted the protocol are available here.
More information on the issue of TRIPS and public health is available here.