In July 2015, the Mexican government granted a U.S. corporation permission for the use of genetic material obtained in Mexican territory for commercial and non-commercial purposes, in one of the cases that has fuelled concern in Latin America about the profit-oriented approach to biodiversity.
The pharmaceutical industry from the US and Europe scored a major victory with the adoption, in 1994, of a binding agreement on intellectual property (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - TRIPS) in the context of the nascent World Trade Organization (WTO).
Genetically modified (GM) cotton has been produced globally for almost two decades, yet to date only three African countries have grown GM cotton on a commercial basis – South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan.
Patient and leading health organisations in South Africa have now joined a Fix the Patent Laws
campaign launched in 2011 by Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to push for reform of the country’s current patent laws.
Industry’s demands and political pressures exerted by developed countries to expand and strengthen patent protection worldwide have been based on the argument that patents promote innovation and thereby contribute to achieve social, political and economic well-being, independently of the level of development of the country where they are granted and enforced.
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the negotiation of which is set to conclude this year, could drive research into new drugs and improve access to medicines. Except – it won’t.