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Pirates of the West

Friday, July 27, 2007 | Read Comments

Pirates of the West

Did you know that drug companies are taking a significant interest in Chinese herbs? Not any interest in promoting their natural healing properties, of course. Instead, drug companies are researching Chinese herbs in order to discover and pirate molecules from nature that they can modify, patent and manufacture as prescription drugs. The practice is called "biopiracy," and nobody does it better than Big Pharma. Drug companies have sent pharma soldiers all over the world, targeting medicines from China, the Amazon, the oceans and even the Australian outback to find more molecules they can steal from nature and call their own. Drug companies do this very quietly, of course. They don't want anyone to know that nature gave them the original ideas for their drugs, and they certainly don't want people figuring out that they can just go straight to nature to find far superior medicine that's safer, more effective and less expensive than patented pharmacological medicines. What's really interesting about this practice of biopiracy is that Western nations condemn China for copying DVDs, music albums and other intellectual property, yet those same nations routinely steal molecules from Chinese medicines. The message is very clear: We can steal your stuff, but you can't steal ours! (Or, when we steal it's legal, but when you steal, it's a crime.) The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is engaged in massive global biopiracy, and it pays no royalties to nature or the nations where pharmaceutical candidate molecules are discovered. Instead, pharma-funded scientists just steal ideas from medicine women, shamans, herbalists and anyone gullible enough to share their secrets with drug company scientists. This is all openly tolerated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which refuses to protect the natural intellectual property on anything created by nature. If man stole it from nature and filed the patent application, then man is considered the "inventor" and is given ownership and control over the molecule, lifeform or seed in question. Monsanto has actually patented pigs! Essentially, Big Pharma is an industry that relies on stealing from nature, exploiting jilted intellectual property laws, then profiteering by selling synthetic chemical versions of such substances to consumers at monopoly prices. It's an incredible scam, and yet no one seems interested in prosecuting Big Pharma for such crimes. People in China who copy Hollywood movies and music albums are considered criminals, but people in America who routinely steal from nature for their own personal gain are called "drug researchers." I think it's time we ended the double standard and got honest about drug company theft from nature. Specifically, I am wholly against the patenting of anything found in nature: seeds, genes, lifeforms and phytochemicals. All such items belong to nature and therefore should be shared by us all. No patents should be allowed on such items... ever! The U.S. intellectual property system that exists today is designed to do one thing: Protect the profits of corporations. It promotes the continued exploitation of nature and the people by greedy corporations, and it forever traps the people of this world in an irreversible cycle of debt and poverty. Because in the end, the people will own nothing and the corporations will "own" everything: the medicine, the land, the patents, the businesses, the genes, the homes and all the seeds, crops and fertilizers. Right now, U.S. corporations have been granted "ownership" over 20% of the human genome, meaning that the DNA in your body is 1/5th corporate property. In time, that number will rise to approach 100%, and the people on this planet will wake up to find themselves in a world where they don't even own their own bodies.

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