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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.



Human Intestine Grown in Mouse for First Time as Scientists Say There is Hope to Create 'Spare Parts' for Peopleby Steve ConnorThe IndependentOctober 20th, 2014Whole organs, composed of a complex arrangement of specialized tissues, could one day be made inside a patient’s body.
Silicon Valley Companies Add New Benefit For Women: Egg-Freezing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Laura SydellNPROctober 17th, 2014The addition of the benefit by Facebook and Apple comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women, but some warn it may increase pressure those employees feel to put off having kids.
Dear Facebook, Please Don't Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 16th, 2014What we need are family-friendly workplace policies, not giveaways that will encourage women to undergo invasive procedures in order to squeeze out more work for their company under the guise of "empowerment."
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
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