– Of the many factors contributing to the current public health crisis, none is as simple to solve, in relative terms, as amending the TRIPS agreement. Criticism of the WTO has been made because of its perceived complacency in managing a change that would affect the lives of millions of people; But they finally arrived on 30 August 2003 with a consensus on how to improve the system of compulsory licences (12). Under the agreement, all least developed countries2 that are WTO members are exempt from the requirement to produce patented medicines under compulsory licence. In addition, countries that are not covered by the definition of the least developed country may grant a compulsory licence (if the drug is patented on its territory) for the supply of a developing country, when the health situation of that country falls under certain criteria: a wide range of medicines are developed and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. , and the TRIPS agreement must distinguish between patents for Viagra and efavirenz. It is reasonable to require full intellectual property protection over 20 years for ”chemical toys” (17), but when it comes to life-saving life-saving drugs, certain concessions must be made in favour of promoting public health. The term ”essential drugs” should be defined within the TRIPS agreement, not with respect to a list of diseases, as suggested in the past (18), but as a general description of what makes the difference between an essential and a non-essential drug. Possible criteria for inclusion in such a category would be the availability of an alternative treatment, the severity of the disease intended to treat the drug, and the patent holder`s ability to adequately supply the markets that require the patented product. However, for separate definitions to be beneficial, separate provisions should be adopted where appropriate.

Ideally, two separate patent laws would co-exist; one application to drugs considered essential and another that is applied to non-essential medicines. Unlike other IP agreements, TRIPS have an effective enforcement mechanism. States can be disciplined by the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. Paragraph 11 of the agreement also stated that amendments to the ON TRIPS agreement corresponding to these decisions will be made by June 2004; the TRIPS agreement was reached when the first antiretroviral drugs were developed to treat HIV infection. In countries rich enough to subsidize the cost of treatment of at least $10,000 ($7700, 8900 euros) per year for each patient, these drugs have gradually transformed HIV infection into a chronic, non-fatal disease. Anti-retroviral drugs were the first drugs to show the effect of the TRIPS agreement. Some low- and middle-income countries were negotiating price cuts with pharmaceutical companies, but these were not enough to allow a combined treatment for all those in need. At least three countries – Brazil, South Africa and Thailand – have considered using the flexibility of TRIPS to expand access to antiretroviral drugs.6 The 2002 Doha Declaration confirmed that the TRIPS agreement should not prevent members from taking the necessary steps to protect public health.

Despite this recognition, less developed countries have argued that flexible TRIPS provisions, such as mandatory licensing, are almost impossible to obtain. The least developed countries, in particular, have made their young domestic manufacturing and technological industries proof of the infallible policy. The Doha Declaration called on the Council to ”find a quick solution to this problem by the end of 2002 and report to the General Council before the end of 2002.”