Each one of us in India with our multicultural backgrounds hold great genetic diversity that pharmaceutical companies believe could cure to several diseases. Not only will such a discovery be a breakthrough, but according to reports also have great financial benefit for those who supply the samples. Seemingly learning from their past mistakes, India has decided to forestall any biopiracy claims with respect to the Indian gene pool. The Outlook (in their issue dated March 9, 2009- p. 20) has reported that the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) in consultation with “experts” has come out with a Human Genome Regulatory Bill which currently lies before the Ministry of Culture for approval this month.
Initial reports of the Bill state the following aims and objectives:
– To document human genetic samples;
– Control access of the samples for research purposes;
– Ensure commercial benefits derived from the research are shared especially with the community that lends the samples;
– Possible establishment of a repository for human genetic samples which allow for hospitals and laboratories affiliated with the programme to lend research samples.
– Also smaller tribes, especially those with unbroken genetic lines, can provide samples to the respoitory which will preserve the same as a Bank.
While SpicyIP does not currently have a copy of the Bill, we laud the Indian Government for acting quickly in formulating the same. We hope that a detailed analysis of the Bill, when the same is made available, proves to be well thought out, and a great asset to Indians after research efforts across the globe.