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Questioning the Morality and the Benefits  of Patenting Plant Life: Multinational Pharmaceutical Corporations and Intellectual Property Rights Laws            
  • Erin MacDonald
Erin MacDonald
York University
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Abstract

In this paper, I set out to illustrate that international intellectual property rights laws are immoral because they allow pharmaceutical corporations to steal and patent plants native to developing countries. I also aim to show how the patenting of drugs creates monopolies that make it difficult for the world’s poorest to access certain drugs, and how these laws promote the destruction of the environment. Disappointingly, the organizations in which the majority of society trusts with conservation efforts help multinational corporations to gain access to plants native to the global South. In return, they get funds from corporations that are currently using biotechnology and want to be viewed as a force for good.  Additionally, I give solutions to these problems throughout this paper, but stress that these solutions are within the global capitalist framework and not able to create structural change.  The world is currently in crisis mode due to the blatant exploitation of the environment by powerful multinationals, and if capitalism is not changed in drastic ways, it is likely that humanity will be changed in irreparable ways, due to the devastating effects of climate change.