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Date:7/30/2012

nce that a novel pharmaceutical might be developed based on the traditional medicines used in the area is relatively high. The value of that drug, Golden said, could range from $300 million to as much as $5.7 billion.

"That raises additional issues, about who benefits from the discovery of these drugs," Golden said. "In the case of the Madagascar Periwinkle, which was used to develop the treatment for childhood leukemia, a foreign drug company came, took the plants to a foreign lab and they are now making billions, but not five cents has made its way back to Madagascar."

While the question of their medical efficacy is still to be answered, Golden knows first-hand why people continue to rely on traditional medicines in at least some cases, they work.

"I have been living here long enough that I've used some of these remedies myself," Golden said. "In one case, some scratches on my leg got infected, and it blew up like a watermelon from my knee to my ankle. My host family went into the forest and came back with what looked like nettles and put them on my leg. It was incredibly itchy, but the swelling went away completely and the pain disappeared. So these treatments really can work."


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Contact: Peter Reuell
preuell@fas.harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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