Indian Government moves to protect its culture

24 February 2009



Associate Professor Patricia Loughlan says India's move to stop western drug companies from slapping patents on its medical treatments is a massive step forward for countries which are trying to protect their intellectual property.

In an interview with ABC Radio Current Affairs program,  The World Today, Associate Professor Loughlan, says India's move aims to tackle 'bio-piracy' head-on.

"The problem with traditional medicines is that, yes it is known about within say sometimes a very small community or a very small community in a developing world, where this traditional knowledge has never been reduced to documentary form.
"So a big pharmaceutical company  can go into India...and engage in what is sometimes called 'bio-prospecting' or 'bio-piracy'.

"They get this traditional knowledge and they patent it themselves and then start making monopoly profits from this patent for something that in effect they didn't invent.

"What India has done is stop that happening by putting all this knowledge into a data base and made the data base public.

 "If a big pharmaceutical tries to get a patent on say the pesticidal properties of a particular seed and they go into the European patent office saying look, we've got something new here and we want a patent on it and then what will happen is a patent examiner in the European patent office will look at the data base and say no, actually what you have done is not new."

To view the entire transcript - Indian government moves to protect its culture

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 773750175e3a2a502301072643192103071b38536304233d623138