Statement on Ethical Use of Biotechnology: To Promote Public Health and National Security and to Fight Against Bioterrorism

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BIO has long expressed its commitment to the use of biotechnology only to benefit humankind. BIO's Statement of Ethical Principles contains several provisions that describe responsible uses of biotechnology and ethical behavior standards developed by the biotechnology industry. After the September 11, 2001 attack on America, questions have been raised about broader uses of biotechnology, including its use to detect, diagnose, prevent, or treat victims of possible future biological attacks as well as the potential for misuse of the technology.

BIO hereby re-affirms its long-standing policy opposing the use of biotechnology to develop weapons. As importantly, however, BIO strongly supports the use of biotechnology to promote and protect the public health and national security. To these ends, appropriate uses of biotechnology include the research, development, and commercialization of products and services to detect, diagnose, protect, and treat all people against harmful pathogens and other agents.

Such products should be developed and distributed under statutory, regulatory and ethical frameworks that address issues including informed consent for patients and participants in clinical trials, independent review of clinical trial protocols, licensing and other importation and exportation rules, and technology transfer. BIO member companies believe in the responsible progress - and use - of science. Biotechnology companies support the use of appropriate safeguards for technologies, including security for employees and facilities.

BIO will continue to work with government agencies, policy makers, and other leaders to develop policies and procedures that embody these important bioethical principles.

To improve public understanding about biotechnology and how it can maintain and improve public health and security, BIO and its member companies also will educate policy makers and the public.

Through biotechnology more than 100 new, breakthrough biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other technologies, have helped millions of people worldwide. Also through biotechnology agriculture has been able to develop more nutritious food and crops that benefit the environment. In the aftermath of September 11, the biotechnology industry will continue to develop applications of this technology to improve the lives of people around the world and oppose its use for weapons or as instruments of harm. BIO and its member companies stand ready to work with governments, non-governmental agencies, other industries, societal leaders, and the public to accomplish these goals.

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