strategy

Preventing biopiracy

Context:
Many of the drug therapies are described first, not in the medical or pharmaceutical literature, but in the anthropological literature as indigenous case studies. This may represent centuries of accumulated expertise in the use of the fauna and flora, and environmental management of cummnity held lands and indigenous reserves.
Implementation:
During the Freedom Week celebrated in India in 1999, large numbers of local Jaiv Panchayats served notices to the corporate biopirates and to the World Trade Organization. The Jaiv Panchayat Living Democracy movement has picked five cases of biopiracy by transnational corporations: W R Grace for Neem, Sabinsa for Black Pepper, RiceTec for Basmati, Calgene for Mustard and Erand and Pioneer/ Dupont for Mustard.
Claim:
1. Corporations are stealing ancient knowledge and patenting it for their own gain and profit. This means that indigenous people and the rest of humanity will have to pay for access to the knowledge that will have thus been commodified. Furthermore, the indigenous peoples themselves are being patented by pharmaceutical corporations and the US administration, under the auspices of the [Human Genome Diversity Programme]. More and more people oppose the patenting of all life forms and the corporate monopolistic control of seed, medicines and traditional knowledge systems and human genomes.

2. The Western concept of property embodied within the patent law does not mesh well with the context in which indigenous knowledge is used. The particulars of discovery or development of the plant into a commercially viable patent often do not coincide with the ownership rights the patent laws offer. As a result there is inadequate recognition of ownership rights due the indigenous contact or referral and thus compensation to the originators of the use or the custodians of the resource is seldom forthcoming by legal right.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being