The piracy continues

INDIAN traditional knowledge, as well as plants of the Amazon, continue to be "stolen" by scientists from other nations and used by pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs. And, says Peter Rudolf Seidl, chairperson of the Brazilian Chemical Association, those who supply the know-how do not receive any of the benefits.

New anti-cancer and anti-AIDS drugs being developed by the US National Institutes of Health include ingredients synthesised from plants of the Amazon, Seidl charged.

Biodiversity piracy is not new. A hundred years ago, an Englishman, Wickham Steed, ruined Brazil's rubber monopoly by smuggling out the saplings that became the plantations of Malaysia.

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