This could eventuate in a huge cobweb of national statutes that may seriously ham-
per international drug development efforts. It is necessary to consider whether inter-
national technology efforts using biodiversity can work effectively if there are diverse
kinds of national legislation determining the nature and focus of ABS, as opposed to
a single clear and transparent system facilitating global drug development efforts. It
seems, therefore, that an international comprehensive ABS regime is urgently needed.
Further research in this field should address issues such as who the benefi-
ciaries of such arrangements would be, how they should be identified, and how
the benefit sharing would be effected. The extent of benefit sharing also needs to
be defined, and a strategy for doing so elucidated: whether it is to be achieved
by a share in the profits from the drug, fixed royalties, or else free or low-cost
access to drugs, for example. How would ABS be accomplished for human genetic
resources when the source is mixed or unknown? Since implementing benefits
from human genetic resources, unlike plant genetic resources, would require not
only highly advanced technology but also huge capital inputs, global arrangements
for ensuring cost-effective access to medicines will have to be viewed as a prior-
ity. This may also require re-evaluating the way in which we cover human genetic
research databases or population databases in this context.
At the practical level, administrative challenges will certainly arise from the
inclusion of human genetic resources in ABS regimes. This will raise a multitude
of issues that require us to draw upon the experience of expert institutions in the
field and to consult with diverse stakeholders. 8 Chapter 8 begins this process by
bringing to bear the experience of those involved with international research ethics.
Whichever route the inclusion of human genetic resources in ABS regimes might
take, it must be evident from this chapter that it is becoming increasingly important
to consider the inclusion of human genetic resources in international treaties that
deal with biodiversity issues. To exclude such resources from these agreements for
the sake of simplicity merely weakens those instruments by excluding a crucial area,
potentially with major repercussions in science, the economy and society. It is our
common position that this should not happen, and we heartily support the wording of
the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, which takes the first step towards inclusion.
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fication of HLA-DRB1 alleles in rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility: A combined analysis of
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8 See Hodges and Casas ( 2008 ) for the need to involve industry in this process.