Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Traditional medicine and intellectual property
Niknam F., Eivazi S.
Ministry of Health, International Relations Department, Tehran, Iran
Medical plants have a great value in traditional knowledge related to human health care both used whole plant or consisting in curative remedies.
These valuable uses has been led to commercial use of medicinal plants and their derivatives which makes great benefits. Also there is a growing desire to use of completely natural materials as curative drugs around the world.
These facts show up a growing global market for natural products with a growing benefit for stakeholders.
This figures show that we should pay attention to the importance of financial aspects of this issue.
In 1999, sales totaled US $3 million, in 2001 US $3.5 millions and in 2003, US $/2.5 millions.
Meanwhile we should consider the importance of protecting the biological diversity of medicinal plants around the world which shall be harmonized with the efforts of the other United Nations organizations, especially B.D.C
It would be necessary to consider an effective mechanism which makes the possibility of having bigger shares of any benefits, for countries those have special species of medicinal plants or higher levels of yields in the same species. It may result in having special genes of geographical situations, environmental conditions, etc.
This benefit sharing should be effective even if countries or organizations other than the country of origin, establish the methods that lead to commercial products and gaining benefits.
Iran is among the very few countries which have a wide range of plants diversity including medicinal ones.
To prevent any misunderstanding and future problems, it would be necessary for international organizations, especially W.I.P.O., (World Intellectual Property Organization) to participate, both by investments and giving technical supports, to conduct such researches.
These helps provide same conditions for less developed countries, with more rich medicinal plants flore as well as developed countries with more technological and financial superiorities.
If we don't pay enough attention to intellectual property rights of traditional medicine, we will loss very financial benefits as experienced this lose in carpet industry.