The approach paper draws attention to the newer biotechnologies in healthcare, such as regenerative medicine and genomics, that have begun to make inroads into the Indian market. As legal and regulatory frameworks struggle to grapple with the ethical conundrums posed by them, these newer biotechnologies thrive in a climate of uncertainty, banking on the notion of a promissory future free of illness. Although these technologies raise newer ethical dilemmas related to questions of data privacy, ownership of biological information and patenting or what it means to be "genetically ill", the ethical concerns related to healthcare technologies are equally relevant for the newer biotechnologies.
The paper further maps the ways in which gendered imprints are writ large on emerging biotechnologies in India. Employing the examples of genomics and stem cell technologies, the dilemmas related to commodification, labor, access and choice, concepts that have been at the core of feminist concerns are illustrated. The paper also synthesizes and presents various feminist positions through which biotechnology has been examined.
Over the past decade, Sama has been engaged in a considerable amount of work in the areas of medical and reproductive technologies. Taking forward and expanding Sama’s work to genetic and other biotechnologies, Sama has developed this approach paper.
The paper has been supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation, India.