Monday, October 29, 2007

Peanut Butter and Patents

When PlumpyNut came out, I was concerned about powdered milk as a main ingredient after Dr. Cunningham's discussion of the prevalence of lactose intolerance across Africa, and the way lactose intolerance mimics water-born intestinal diseases. Now, I'm concerned for entirely different reasons:

Peanut Butter and Patents : "Finally caught up to Anderson Cooper's report about PlumpyNut, which aired on Sixty Minutes a little over a week ago. Besides intimating that Doctors Without Borders had invented PlumpyNut (which it didn't), the 11-minute CBS report completely neglected to mention that PlumpyNut is patented. (Thanks to Josh for sending me the link.) Okay, you say, CBS has produced a feel-good story that doesn't have to be encyclopedic. But given the fact that Cooper says that there's not enough PlumpyNut to go around and ties the shortage to a lack of vision from food aid donors, you would think he might have at least mentioned other challenges, like negotiations over licensing and franchising rights stemming from the patent(s) [...]"

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