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About the Biotech & Pharma Industries & Human Biotechnology


The fast-growing biotech industry is playing a dominant role in shaping the development, marketing and use of human biotechnologies. Like the pharmaceutical industry, it profits by developing products aimed at treating disease and restoring health. Although some biotech products and activities are socially and ethically controversial, the industry as a whole tends to oppose public oversight and regulation.

This situation is complicated by increasingly blurred lines between private biotechnology companies and university researchers, between perceptions of serving the public interest and the profit imperatives of private enterprise, and between research and commercialization.

In recent decades, the US Congress has enacted policies that allow controversial patents (such as those on gene sequences and human tissues), and that encourage closer university-corporate relations. These policies have led to a rapid commercialization of biology and medicine, and to a significant number of university-based researchers with financial ties to private companies. Such arrangements allow them to maintain the appearance of serving the public interest while pursuing careers in the private sector.

Private industry is an important player in the development of human biotechnologies. But the lack of a financially independent counterweight like the one that public universities used to provide makes effective oversight and responsible regulation imperative. Given the impact of the biotech industry on public debate, public policy, and all of our lives, its interests must be transparent.



Left Out In The Cold: Seven Reasons Not To Freeze Your Eggsby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsOctober 16th, 2014Apparently the professional cautions against egg freezing for elective purposes from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are of no consequence to Facebook or Apple.
Another Reason Freezing Employees’ Eggs is a Terrible Idea[Quotes CGS and Marcy Darnovsky]by Ricki LewisPLOS BlogsOctober 16th, 2014Facebook and Apple’s decision to offer female employees a $20,000 benefit to freeze their eggs indicates a stunning disregard for the complexities of reproductive biology.
Freezing Eggs Puts Women and Infants’ Health at Stakeby Miriam ZollThe New York TimesOctober 16th, 2014Responsible doctors should not be recommending egg freezing to perfectly healthy young women who have no medically indicated need.
Frozen II : The Tech Industry’s Eggs[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Weekly WonkOctober 16th, 2014A group of experts react to the news that Apple and Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs.
How Should the U.S. Regulate Genetic Testing?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2014The question, addressed at a conference at Stanford’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, is both complicated and critical.
Dear Facebook, Please Don’t Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2014In the latest example of Silicon Valley’s challenges in dealing with non-virtual reality, Facebook and Apple are offering female employees a $20,000 benefit toward elective egg freezing, despite serious and under-studied health risks to women and children.
Egg freezing poses health risks to women[Press statement]October 15th, 2014Facebook and Apple’s egg freezing “benefit” is ill-advised for multiple reasons
Study Backs Use of Stem Cells in Retinas by Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 14th, 2014Since they were first isolated 16 years ago, the progress of human embryonic stem cells has been slow, but now researchers are reporting an encouraging step.
How to Cope With a Positive Genetic Test Resultby Kristine CraneUS NewsOctober 10th, 2014There is help out there for people with a positive genetic test result, as well as something of a protocol for them to follow.
Gene Therapy Effective to Treat 'Bubble Boy' Syndromeby Pippa StephensBBCOctober 8th, 2014During a clinical trial, nine baby boys were given healthy versions of the faulty gene that codes for the disease, and eight were still alive 43 months later.
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