Bio-Piracy: When Western Firms Usurp Eastern Medicine


The researchers analyzed a sample of 17 case studies in which Western firms secured patents for traditional herbal remedies from all over the world. These included Colorado State University’s patent for quinoa (the school let the patent lapse in 1998, following complaints from Bolivia’s National Association of Quinoa Producers); Houston-based Rice Tec’s patents involving basmati rice (the firm withdrew several claims after public opposition); and the aforementioned turmeric patent.