BIO Fully Supports President's Ban On Genetic Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2000) - Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement today on President Clinton's executive order barring genetic discrimination of federal employees by U.S. government agencies.

"We enthusiastically support the president's move to protect workers from discrimination based on genetic testing," Feldbaum said. "As more and more genetic tests become available to diagnose and treat diseases we must not allow employers, insurers or anyone else to use that information to discriminate.

"Our industry wants to ensure that all medical information, including genetic data, is used only for the benefit of patients. We want patients to feel comfortable taking advantage of genetic tests and other technological advances to improve their health.

"Discrimination based on who you are, whether it be race, ethnicity, gender or genetics, simply has no place in our society," Feldbaum added. "This is the true third rail of biotech policy and politics."

BIO's March 1999 policy statement regarding the prohibition of discriminatory use of medical information, including genetic data, is posted on our website.

BIO represents more than 880 biotech companies, academic institutions and state biotech centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.