Bringing together traditional and modern medicine faces numerous challenges that stem from differences in how each is practiced, evaluated and managed. What are researchers doing to bridge the gap?
Displaying 1-7 of 7 key documents
Source: Cell | September 2007
This article provides an overview of global efforts to develop turmeric — a curry spice that is also used in a variety of Indian traditional remedies — into a modern therapeutic drug. The author highlights some of the hurdles to developing turmeric, including intellectual property barriers, turmeric's insolubility in water and its poor bioavailability. He also describes current efforts including ongoing lab and clinical trials.
Source: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine | October 2005
This review article outlines the basic principles of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, and the differences in how these are being integrated into national health systems. The authors discuss progress in drug discovery including traditional medicinal plants and the role of supporting industries — from breeders to manufacturers — in commercialising traditional medicine.
Source: SciTopics | January 2009
This article, by integrative medicine expert Bhushan Patwardhan, highlights the role of traditional medicine in modern drug discovery. Patwardhan explains the driving forces behind efforts to mine traditional medicine for new drugs, outlines the different approaches that can be taken and provides examples of current efforts and success stories.
Source: Developing World Bioethics | 2006
This paper by Aceme Nyika provides a comprehensive review of the ethical issues in research using indigenous medicines, focusing in particular on the use of traditional medicine to treat HIV/AIDS in Africa. The author suggests that the superstition attached to African traditional medicine, together with a laxity in the regulations governing its practice, means that ethical issues have not been adequately addressed.
Nyika argues that it is especially important to demystify diagnosis and therapy if African traditional medicine is to meet minimum ethical and regulatory standards. This can only be done through research on traditional medicine, following the same stages — from animal model to human trials — as conventional medicine. There is also a need for ethical approval, first person informed consent, monitoring for adverse reactions and dissemination of findings. In this paper, Nyika discusses why these have proved difficult to implement and suggests some of the ways in which they could be put into practice.
Source: M. Mander (FAO) | 1998
In South Africa the demand for indigenous medicines and services is considerable compared with the demand for western health care services, and is growing due to population growth, poverty and beliefs. As a result, the demand for the popular plants used for indigenous medicines exceeds supply.
This publication by the FAO (one of the first comprehensive market surveys of medicinal plants in southern Africa) examines the demand for, and supply of, medicinal plants in Kwazulu-Natal, and the main marketing factors at play.
The indigenous medicine market is based on indigenous plants which are generally harvested from wild plant stocks. The available plant stocks are declining as they are not managed and little cultivation takes place. The study identifies three possible scenarios, which depend the actions of key players in the markets.
It identifies the most likely scenario as the commercialisation of indigenous plant production, which will cause prices to rise and exclude less sophisticated players from the market. The costs of this scenario will be borne largely by the current consumers, who will then lose access to basic medicine because of price increases and scarcity.
The study makes several recommendations for achieving a good balance between demand and supply.
Source: Anil K. Gupta (WIPO) | September 2001
This paper was presented by Anil K. Gupta, of the Honey Bee Network in India, at the Second WIPO International Conference on Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property held in Geneva from 19-21 September 2001.
For a large number of communities and knowledge experts, says Gupta, globalisation has reduced the opportunities for expressing values. Their values no longer encourage them to conserve biodiversity and other resources and the knowledge systems associated with them. Furthermore, while these knowledge-rich, but economically poor, communities have provided leads for modern pharmaceutical and seed industries, they have hardly ever shared in the benefits.
The situation could be halted by introducing traditional knowledge digital libraries (TKDL), he says. Such a library system would explicitly acknowledge the providers, producers and reproducers of traditional knowledge, and would share the results of its documentation with them in the relevant local language. The IPR issues related to the TKDL are discussed extensively in this paper.
To carry forward the ideas presented in this paper, several policy and institutional changes will be necessary. One of the most difficult challenges in relation to TKDL is the extremely poor Internet infrastructure in most developing countries.
Source: Quaker United Nations Office | November 2001
This paper discusses a number of policy issues surrounding the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) that may be relevant to future negotiations or a deeper treatment of this issue in various international fora.
The paper aims to:
The paper is written for policy makers dealing with these issues across a range of government ministries as well as those groups and agencies with a special interest here. The report's aim is to contribute to informed public debate about, and policy making concerning, TK, IPRs and sustainable human development.