Benin accepts TRIPS amendment to ease poor countries’ access to affordable medicines
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 (i.e. licences 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.
Benin’s WTO Ambassador Eloi Laourou said: “By ratifying the protocol amending the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, the Republic of Benin reaffirms its commitment to promoting trade and to introducing flexibilities to help developing countries, and in particular least developed countries, face the challenges related to public health. Benin thus aims to contribute to multilateral efforts to help developing countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector to improve their capacity to procure medicines to treat certain diseases.”
With Benin’s acceptance, close to 65 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 .