From British Gas to Rainforest Pharmaceutical Products

The British Gas environmental reports, recently released to Friends of the Earth and others are admitted by British Gas themselves to be superficial in places, especially the anthropology report. They were done over a period of about ten days AFTER the first wells were drilled and do not fulfill the requirements of environmental impact assessments because they make no specific recommendations on how adverse impacts arising from the production stage are to be avoided.

DTM, the company contracted to do them, has apparently written similarly inadequate reports for other oil companies. It has also been denounced by the Indian federations of Ecuador for facilitating the destruction of archaeological sites by hiring US archaeologists to collect all the archaeological evidence over a few days from sites that are "in the way" of development schemes such as oil wells. The sites are then bulldozed.

Now the same firm is about to be assessed by Shaman Pharmaceuticals with a view to employing them to exploit Sangre de Drago (Croton lechleri: Euphorbiaeceae). Shaman Pharmaceuticals has expressed its wish to "sustainably" exploit traditional knowledge for "new" drugs. The potential for the sustainable exploitation of Sangre de Drago is excellent, if it is done through the indigenous organisations of Ecuador, but unfortunately it seems that DTM does not respect indigenous organisations. It also appears to believe in cutting down the tree rather than using the sustainable tapping method used in Peru, describing that as "too slow". Informants claim that DTM's director was caught trying to smuggle 30 gallons of Sangre de Drago latex out of the country.

All these allegations should be fully investigated.

Please write letters urgently to Shaman Pharmaceuticals to ask them not to use DTM. They are going to Ecuador on September 15th so letters should be sent by September 1st.

Make the point that in view of all these allegations the credibility of Shaman Pharmaceuticals will suffer seriously if they work with DTM. They should approach the Indian Federations CONAIE and CONFENIAE instead.

Write to:

Dr Stephen King
Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc
887 Industrial Road
Suite 8
San Carlos, CA 94070 - 3312

This report was produced by:

9 Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, London, N16 6PA, UK.
Phone: +4481-806-1561. Fax: +4481-806-5226.
E-Mail gn:jtorrance

(Posted to Native-l on Wed, 21 Aug 1991 by jtorrance@gn.UUCP)