239087 Global governance: Promoting biodiversity and protecting indigenous communities against biopiracy

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Bryan Liang, MD, JD, PhD , School of Medicine (UCSD), Institute of Health Law Studies (Cal Western School of Law), University of California, San Diego, California Western School of Law, San Diego, CA
Timothy Mackey, MAS , School of Public Health (SDSU), Institute of Health Law Studies (Cal Western School of Law), San Diego State University-University of California, San Diego and Institute of Health Law Studies, Cal Western School of Law, San Diego, CA
Biopiracy is the misappropriation of valuable indigenous knowledge and biodiversity resources from originating communities using Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). Globalization of IPR legal regimes that focus on private economic development under the WTO TRIPS regime have not promoted equitable drug discovery, nor addressed biopiracy concerns. In October 2010, UN Convention on Biodiversity members adopted the Nagoya Protocol, which attempts to protect biodiversity and prevent biopiracy by setting rules on how nations cooperate in access and sharing benefits derived from these resources. Though potentially beneficial, the Protocol does not address many challenges, including a needed forum for indigenous populations to have these conflicts adjudicated, adequate penalties to disincentivize biopiracy, specific mechanisms to ensure assistance to developing countries in implementing sustainable biodiversity development, and mechanisms to direct resources to improve health in these communities. To address these deficiencies a joint WTO-WHO committee is proposed that would act as an independent forum to address claims of biopiracy. Penalties would include loss of sales profits and allowing domestic production without IPR barriers under the TRIPS Doha public health exception. In addition, a user fee system for industry bioprospecting would be implemented and would underwrite the Joint Committee as well as provide resources for a Global Biodiversity Fund. This fund would assist developing countries to create sustainable biodiversity development programs, provide economic benefits education to indigenous peoples in a culturally competent way, and fund innovative efforts at private-public partnerships to share benefits of biodiversity development and promote global justice and health infrastructures.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current globalization of intellectual property regimes and their effect on sustainable and equitable drug discovery and development. Discuss issues of global justice and equitable benefits sharing in the context of global intellectual property regimes that fail to prevent biopiracy. Analyze the weaknesses and strengths of the recently adopted Nagoya Protocol and identify potential policy solutions that can address limitations of the protocol.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Health Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the executive director of the Institute of Health Law Studies and have a medical degree, law degree, and public policy degree and have written and researched on a number of public health policy topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Human rights for global justice
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