Patents on medicine who should get the patents

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This opposes indigenous value systems which promote the collective management of biodiversity (Carrizosa, Brush, Wright amp. McGuire, 2004). Intellectual property rights (IPR) related to indigenous medicines concern biogenetic resources available in nature and as commercial products. IPR includes practical applications of biogenetic resources, and traditional knowledge (TK) about natural medicine and the biodiversity of subtropical and tropical regions such as rain forests. Businesses using biogenetic resources are the prime users of intellectual property rights (IPRs) including patents, plant variety protection (PVP) or plant breeders’ rights (PBRs), copyrights, trade marks and trade secrets (Dutfield, 2004, p.11). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate intellectual property and ethics in the patenting of medicine derived from indigenous biogenetic resources of the tropics and subtropics. Whether western scientists or indigenous people should get the patents of these medicines, will be determined. Protecting the Rights to Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge The World Health Organization indicates that approximately 80 percent of the world’s population depends on traditional medicine for its primary health care. Some traditional medicines are used in biomedical research, being sources of chemical substances with therapeutic value (Soetan amp. Aiyelaagbe, 2009). Therefore, traditional medicines are economically highly profitable. Indigenous communities are responsible for discovering, developing and preserving an extensive range of medicinal plants, herbal health formulations and other compounds from agricultural and forest products. These are traded internationally, thereby generating high economic value. however, due to unfair exploitation of knowledge about traditional medicines, the profits do not reach the indigenous communities who cultivate and develop the medicines (Dutfield, 2004). Indigenous people with traditional knowledge are not viewed by western scientists as authors of that knowledge, but are considered to be passive guardians of the same. Western scientists should acknowledge that indigenous people are productive inventors since they have worked on their natural resources to produce effective and valuable medicines. Therefore traditional knowledge is not raw or passive knowledge (Jiang, 1999, p.5). As a result, the legal perspective is that Traditional Knowledge is dynamic, with indigenous communities transforming the knowledge, which continues to change and evolve with further advances. Therefore, there is a need for legal protection of intellectual property rights of biogenetic resources in developing countries. For example, the biopiracy of anti-diabetic medicinal plants has been confirmed by research conducted by Mahop and Mayet (2007) in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Further, the indiscriminate harvesting of naturally growing flora in forests and other areas results in severe loss of habitat and genetic diversity. According to Okigbo, Eme and Ogbogu (2008), several African medicinal plants such as Ancistrocladus abbreivatus, a Cameroun plant with anti-HIV potential are well known in the international markets. Similarly, research was conducted by Amusan, Sukati, Dlamini et al (2007) on Swazi phytomedicines to treat various health disorders. Such valuable, endangered medicinal plant species