Biotech Industry Adopts Statement Opposing Discriminatory Misuse Of Medical Information

WASHINGTON, D.C.(April 8, 1999) BIO's board of directors approved a statement opposing discriminatory misuse of medical information, including all genetic information.

The policy position asserts that BIO opposes misuse of medical information to discriminate in health insurance, employment and other settings. It also states that genetic information is a subset of medical information and should not be considered a separate category.

BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum said, "The statement supplements our 1996 position supporting federal standards to protect the confidentiality of medical information.

"Our industry wants to make sure 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."

Both the 1999 and 1996 position papers are available at BIO's website,

In addition, bioethics issues will be discussed at BIO '99, the International Biotechnology Meeting & Exhibition, in Seattle, May 16-20, at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center.

A special session, titled "Bioethics Challenges for the New Millennium" will be held Wednesday, May 19, and will feature presentations by Dr. Eric Meslin, executive director of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and several BIO members, including Ronald Eastman, president and CEO of Geron Corp. and Simon Best, CEO of Roslin Bio-Med Ltd.

BIO '99 conference registration for credentialed press is complimentary. To register call BIO's Charles Craig at (202) 962-9200.

BIO represents more than 850 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural and environmental biotechnology products.