Biotech Industry Ethics in the Developing World

People worry about how the lure of profits will affect the judgement of biotech companies in the highly competitive, aggressively capitalist North American business context.

Less thought has been given to ethical standards at biotech companies in the developing world. Regulatory infrastructure is notoriously weak in most developing nations; accordingly, constraint on business practices is by default left up to managers at individual companies. A lot of people think that India and China, in particular, loom on the horizon as burgeoning biotech powerhouses. Thus there’s been a lot of talk about the funding going into research in those two countries, their relatively educated workforces, their vigorous (or, in the case of China, blossoming) marketplaces, etc.
My question: 10 years from now, when China & India are biotech powerhouses, will their respective biotech sectors have the requisite depth of understanding of the corporate ethical issues involved in conducting the business of bioscience in a safe and ethical manner? Someone ought to write a Ph.D. dissertation on this.

Here are some starting points, mostly focusing on the case of India:

Shaping the Indian biotech sector

Biotechnology is called the “technology of hope” owing to its revolutionary promises in agriculture, healthcare, industrial processing and environmental sustainability. The technology offers so much hope that trade groups and governments are trying to make environments conducive to the emergence of this technology.

Fuelled by aspirations of self-reliance and pressured to cope with poverty and underdevelopment, Indian Government is focusing on education and infrastructure to establish strong biotechnology capabilities. An Ernst & Young report identified 96 exclusive enterprises as biotechnology companies, making Indian biotech sector third largest in the Asian region after Australia and China. Though India is yet to introduce a novel biotechnology product, it has a strong science and the potential to generate a revenue of $5 billion and a million jobs by 2010.

Some relevant items from the web:

Some relevant books:

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