Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a traditional pharmaceutical company that focuses on creating ethical pharmaceutical products. It is trying to discover ways to develop antifungal, antiviral, and sedative drugs from plants. It combines the methods of ethnobotany, chemistry, and pharmacology, notably new ways to screen and test drugs. The company has created The Healing Forest Conservancy, a non-profit organization to share the responsibilities of the development of plant biodiversity. It collaborates with local healers to identify plants with medicinal properties. In exchange for the knowledge it received, Shaman paid up to $8,000 (or the equivalent in goods and services) to the healer's community. It also promised long-term benefits if a drug was actually developed from one of the plants concerned. Sharman's researchers were able within four years to isolate 30 compounds that lowered blood sugar levels enough to make them look promising as anti-diabetic drugs. The commercial evaluation of these and other potential drugs has been halted due to the cost of clinical trials required by the USA licencing process.
The pharmaeutical company Merck has a long-standing arrangement with Costa Rica to prospect for drugs in that country's forests.