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Wednesday, 21st May 2014

Documenting Traditional Medical Knowledge

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

From Executive Summary:

Traditional medical knowledge is experiencing increased attention worldwide in light of global health care demand and the significant role of traditional medicine in meeting the public health needs of developing countries. Traditional medicines already comprise a multi- billion dollar, international industry, and the biomedical sector is increasingly investigating the potential of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Documenting and protecting these medicines is becoming a greater priority.

Traditional knowledge has historically been at odds with modern intellectual property systems designed to protect innovations such as new pharmaceutical drugs. However, as the financial value of many forms of traditional medicine becomes recognized, traditional knowledge holders and nations rich in genetic resources are arguing for greater protection through non-conventional systems of intellectual property protection. Traditional knowledge holders are increasingly demanding fair and equitable distribution of benefits from the commercialization of traditional medicine, as well as the prior informed consent of indigenous peoples to prevent misappropriation.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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