The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Ownership and commercialisation of human biological material (and the) impact on scientific and medical research

Ownership and commercialisation of human biological material (and the) impact on scientific and medical research
Ownership and commercialisation of human biological material (and the) impact on scientific and medical research
Health related biotechnological research is undoubtedly a significant social utility. Such research leads to development of drugs, diagnostics, and better understanding of the causes of diseases and illnesses that plague humanity. It also helps to drive economic growth. Patenting and the commercialisation of the products of biotechnological research enterprise provide the necessary economic incentive to encourage investment, drive innovation and productivity in such enterprise. While significant profits are made from this enterprise, these profits are presently shared between researchers (and their employers) who develop the products and private companies that market the products in a commercial arena. Although human biological material is an essential raw material for most health related biotechnological research, the individuals who contribute this essential raw material (‘sources’) are largely excluded from partaking in the profits made from research enterprise.

While it is important to safeguard the profit interest of developers and marketers of products generated from biotechnological research enterprise in order to maintain the incentive to embark upon such ventures, the current two-dimensional approach to profit sharing is arguably untenable. It is inconsistent with notions of justice which form part of the fabric of a civilised society. Furthermore, sources are becoming aware of the potential commercial value of biological material as the matter continues to be debated in the public arena and they may refuse to participate in research if they perceive they are treated unjustly. This potential state of affairs could hinder research progress since its survival depends to a significant extent on the continued supply and availability of human biological material.

One supposition advanced here is that sources who contribute commercially valuable biological material towards research enterprise should be empowered by law to claim compensation for their contribution, or alternatively, to direct such compensation into further research, if they so wish. Furthermore, a source’s interest in determining how and by whom his or her biological material is used should also receive more robust protection under the law than at present. Such an approach arguably enhances the ethics of research enterprise by helping to promote justice, dignity and autonomy for sources. It is proposed that a hybrid liability/property policy framework should be introduced for this purpose, a framework which should seek to safeguard the interests of sources of biological material, without discouraging innovation or eroding the economic incentive to conduct and invest in research. An attempt is made in this discourse to sketch the contours of one such model.
Ayihongbe, Semande
f4faa3c9-768c-43b4-a34c-28c90f5a8c70
Ayihongbe, Semande
f4faa3c9-768c-43b4-a34c-28c90f5a8c70
Nwabueze, Remigius
6b2cdf07-8ee1-4d6f-9882-e3ea41e2aa0b

Ayihongbe, Semande (2014) Ownership and commercialisation of human biological material (and the) impact on scientific and medical research. University of Southampton, School of Law, Doctoral Thesis, 296pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Health related biotechnological research is undoubtedly a significant social utility. Such research leads to development of drugs, diagnostics, and better understanding of the causes of diseases and illnesses that plague humanity. It also helps to drive economic growth. Patenting and the commercialisation of the products of biotechnological research enterprise provide the necessary economic incentive to encourage investment, drive innovation and productivity in such enterprise. While significant profits are made from this enterprise, these profits are presently shared between researchers (and their employers) who develop the products and private companies that market the products in a commercial arena. Although human biological material is an essential raw material for most health related biotechnological research, the individuals who contribute this essential raw material (‘sources’) are largely excluded from partaking in the profits made from research enterprise.

While it is important to safeguard the profit interest of developers and marketers of products generated from biotechnological research enterprise in order to maintain the incentive to embark upon such ventures, the current two-dimensional approach to profit sharing is arguably untenable. It is inconsistent with notions of justice which form part of the fabric of a civilised society. Furthermore, sources are becoming aware of the potential commercial value of biological material as the matter continues to be debated in the public arena and they may refuse to participate in research if they perceive they are treated unjustly. This potential state of affairs could hinder research progress since its survival depends to a significant extent on the continued supply and availability of human biological material.

One supposition advanced here is that sources who contribute commercially valuable biological material towards research enterprise should be empowered by law to claim compensation for their contribution, or alternatively, to direct such compensation into further research, if they so wish. Furthermore, a source’s interest in determining how and by whom his or her biological material is used should also receive more robust protection under the law than at present. Such an approach arguably enhances the ethics of research enterprise by helping to promote justice, dignity and autonomy for sources. It is proposed that a hybrid liability/property policy framework should be introduced for this purpose, a framework which should seek to safeguard the interests of sources of biological material, without discouraging innovation or eroding the economic incentive to conduct and invest in research. An attempt is made in this discourse to sketch the contours of one such model.

PDF
Ayihongbe, Semande final thesis.pdf - Other
Download (5MB)

More information

Published date: September 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Law School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368527
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368527
PURE UUID: 892fef92-4d7f-473e-9b81-9e016adf7a25

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Oct 2014 12:16
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 01:46

Export record

Contributors

Author: Semande Ayihongbe
Thesis advisor: Remigius Nwabueze

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×