Brazil To Step Up Crackdown On “Biopiracy” In 2011
Reuters, 23 December 2010

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Brazil plans to expand a crackdown on companies that patent products made from rare plants and animals without adequately compensating the country or its indigenous communities. The fight against “biopiracy” has won the support of indigenous communities and defenders of the Amazon rainforest who say corporations unfairly benefit from medicine and other products derived from Brazil’s biodiversity. But the effort has sparked criticism that it slows crucial scientific research and arbitrarily targets entrepreneurs that could develop environmentally sustainable businesses. Brazil has levied more than 100 million reais ($59 million) in fines since July on companies charged with not paying fair compensation for the use of genetic material native to Brazil, said Bruno Barbosa, who heads inspection for the environmental oversight agency Ibama. Next year, officials will begin pursuing companies that did not notify the government of their use of local species to create products such as pharmaceuticals, as required by law, meaning fines will likely go up. Read the article …