The introduction opens with a discussion of the current state of intellectual property law which has been greatly expanded around the world at the behest of corporate interests and the World Trade Organization, imposing limitations on the sharing of medical, scientific and artistic creations. A brief discussion of India’s large pharmaceutical sector and multinational big pharma is presented followed by a depiction of the practice of ayurvedic medicine in India and concerns about biopiracy, or the commercial exploitation of indigenous medical knowledge. The introduction also offers a discussion of problems of resistance and the intelligibility of power in a complex global system such as the new patent regime and cautions against simplistic depictions of an all powerful “big pharma” in analyzing the global economy of pharmaceutical production.
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