‘…Least Developed Countries will not be obliged, with respect to pharmaceutical products, to implement or apply sections 5 and 7 of part II of the TRIPS Agreement or to enforce rights provided for under these sections until 1 January 2016, without prejudice to the right of least developed countries to seek other extensions of the transition periods….’- Paragraph 7, Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health (2001).
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property came into force on 1st January 1995 after the Uruguay round of negotiations and the coming to birth of the World Trade Organization. The agreement has been credited with establishing global standards of intellectual property protection. It has also been criticized for failing to balance its competing goals of protecting and promoting innovation and catering for the public health needs of developing and least developed countries.
This year, TRIPS commemorates its 20th year in influencing aspects of intellectual property and trade in the world. The past years have seen heavy debate on pharmaceutical product patents and access to medicines for developing and least developed countries. This heavy debate led to a waiver of implementation of drug patent provisions of TRIPS to 1st January 2005 for developing countries and 1st January 2016 for least developed countries.