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PATNEWS: Some nice articles on patenting of "third world" genes (fwd)
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- Subject: PATNEWS: Some nice articles on patenting of "third world" genes (fwd)
- From: James Love <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 20:49:34 -0400 (EDT)
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Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 22:56:51 -0400
From: Gregory Aharonian <email@example.com>
Subject: PATNEWS: Some nice articles on patenting of "third world" genes
!19960509 A nice article on patenting of "third world" genes
The May 2, 1996 issue of Nature magazine, pages 11-14, has a group of
articles dealing with the patenting problems involving pharmaceutical
companies obtaining (and potentially patenting) the genetic material of
groups of individuals, in particular, groups of people in developing countries
that because of history and/or geography, share a common biological feature
that relates to some genetic benefit or problem.
For example, last year the US Department of Health and Human Services
received a US patent on a human t-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-I) derived from
the Hagahai people of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea. The patent
attracted the attention of RAFI, the Rural Advancement Foundation
International, which is trying to have more controls imposed on the Human
Genome Diversity Project. One of the co-inventors, Carol Jenkins, has
agreed to donate her 50% share of the royalties to the Hagahai people.
One article deals with India, with which its huge population, has
attracted many researchers who would like to gather blood and cell samples.
Indian government agencies are trying to developing laws to regulate the
flow of such materials out of the country, and to share in the benefits.
This in turn has attracted the attention of many in the country, who work
with the opposition political party to frustrate attempts to amend Indian
patent laws (the Patent Act of 1970) to bring it in line with GATT, which
India has subscribed to, partly by using this issue of human genetic samples
being taken from India.
The ethical issue of patenting and genetics is still unresolved in many
parts of the world, and even in the United States, some pending patents will
introduce new, and in one case, more profound complications into these
discussions. Coupled to the billion dollar profits to be made with a new
drug derived from sampled blood and cells, the desires of developing
countries to share in these profits, and the controversies should be around
for a long time (probably as long as it will take for the software patenting
people to do the right thing with their controversy).
Anyways, it is a nice set of articles.
Internet Patent News Service