Patents of drugs extracted from Brazilian medicinal plants
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Background: Plants synthesise a vast repertoire of chemicals with various biological activities. Brazilian enormous botanical diversity facilitates the development of novel ethical drugs for the treatment of diseases in humans. Objective: To present therapeutic patent applications comprising Brazilian native plants published in the 2003 - 2008 period in light of legal aspects of patentability of biodiversity and public health concerns. Methods: Therapeutic patent applications related to Brazilian medicinal plants available at both the European Patent Office and the Brazilian National Institute of industrial Property databases were reviewed. Results/conclusion: Twenty-five patents are presented, most of which concern inflammatory, allergic, parasitic, infectious or digestive diseases, including extracts from Carapa guianensis, Copaifera genus, Cordia verbenacea, Erythrina mulungu, Physalis angulata and other pharmaceutical compositions with antileishmanial, antimalarial or trypanocidal activity. Brazilian research centres and universities are responsible for most of these inventions.