These agreements are expected to have the greatest impact on the pharmaceutical sector and access to medicines in the commercial aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS Agreement has been in force since 1995 and is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date. The TRIPS Agreement introduced global minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of almost all forms of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including those relating to patents. International agreements prior to TRIPS did not establish minimum standards for patents. At the time of the start of negotiations, more than 40 countries around the world did not grant patent protection for pharmaceuticals. The TRIPS Agreement now requires all WTO members, with a few exceptions, to adapt their legislation to minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights. In addition, the TRIPS Agreement introduced detailed obligations on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The 2002 Doha Declaration reaffirmed that the TRIPS Agreement should not prevent members from taking the necessary measures to protect public health. Despite this recognition, less developed countries have argued that flexible TRIPS provisions, such as compulsory licensing, are almost impossible to enforce. Less developed countries, in particular, cited their young domestic manufacturing and technology industries as evidence of the imprecision of the policy.
Article 40 of the TRIPS Agreement provides that certain practices or conditions relating to intellectual property rights that restrict competition may have negative effects on trade and impede the transfer and dissemination of technology (paragraph 1). In accordance with the other provisions of the Agreement, Member States may take appropriate measures to prevent or control abusive and anti-competitive IPR licensing practices (paragraph 2). The Agreement provides for a mechanism where by which a country wishing to combat practices in which companies of another Member State participates shall enter into consultations with that other Member State and provide non-confidential information publicly available and relevant to the matter in question and other information at its disposal, subject to national law and the conclusion of satisfactory agreements on compliance with its confidentiality by the requirement. (paragraph 3). Similarly, a country whose companies are subject to such measures in another Member State may enter into consultations with that Member (paragraph 4). The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. Since February 2005, 148 countries have been members of the WTO. By being admitted to the WTO, countries undertake to comply with the 18 specific agreements annexed to the agreement establishing the WTO. You cannot choose to participate in some agreements, but not in others (with the exception of some “plurilateral” agreements that are not mandatory… .