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University of Wisconsin-Madison
Drugs rotting on the vine
Drugs rotting on the vine

With Ebola threatening the world's populations, there is a new urgency to find therapies. Bringing naturally occurring pharmaceuticals to market should be a priority for our nation because drugs derived from nature are astonishingly successful. The United States' policy and law, however, strongly discourage prospecting for drugs in nature. This spring, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that natural products cannot be patented. The United States also refuses to be bound by a United Nations treaty that came into effect earlier this month, intended to facilitate discovery of natural products in biodiverse places like the Amazon rain forests. Currently, there is...