Biotechnology and the Transatlantic Relationship - Health Policy ...

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5 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Biotechnology and the
Transatlantic Relationship

Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider

Dickinson College


Nov. 11, 2003



Context: U.S. European
Relationship*


United States and Europe
are “essential allies”


Share common values
--

belief in individual rights,
government responsible to
people, equal opportunity,
equal justice, free
markets


BUT…..

*



*
Information from
Transatlantic
Trends 2003,
German Marshall
fund and Compagnia di San Paolo



Transatlantic relationship
at a non
-
wartime low


Deteriorated dramatically
since 9/11


9/12 “Nous sommes tous
des Americains”


Two years later
--

a
different story


Favorable View of US.





1999




2003


Germany

78





25


Italy


76





34


Spain


50





14


France


62





31


British


83





48

% Opposition to Iraq war*


Italy



81


Spain



81


France



75


Germany


69


Russia



87


Turkey



86


Brits



51

* Information from
Transatlantic Trends 2003,
German Marshall fund and Compagnia di San Paolo

Unilateralism vs. Multilateralism


“You are with us or you are against us.”


Pre
-
emptive strike

The U.S. does not belong to:


Kyoto Protocol


International Criminal Court


Biological Weapons Convention


International Land Mines Treaty (Clinton
Decision)


Policies vs. Populace


September 2003 Zogby poll indicated
that a majority of Americans favor:


Multilateralism over unilateralism


For securing peace in Iraq and
eliminating threat of nuclear weapons
from North Korea, 3 to 1 Americans
prefer using United Nations


2 to 1 Americans think the U.S. should
have joined the International Criminal
Court


Biotechnology


Agriculture: genetic modification refers to
the transfer of genes from one organism
to another


Occurs in nature across related species


Man made GMOs insert desirable traits into
plant seeds:


Salt tolerant tomato


Bt cotton


“golden rice”
--

vitamin A enriched


Protein enhanced maize

Pros and Cons


No till farming

saves
land


Greater productivity


saves land


Reduce pesticide and
herbicide use,
reduction by 163
million pounds
annually


Protein and vitamin
enriched can alleviate
hunger, malnutrition
and disease



Fears that biotech
seeds could cause
damage by spreading
and finding new hosts


Fears that
consumption might
be damaging


Threat to traditional
and organic farming
because more efficient
and more productive


Benefits to farmer and
seed manufacturer,
not consumer



Genomics and Pharmaceuticals


Sequencing of human genome jointly
announced by President Bill Clinton and
Prime Minister Tony Blair in June 2001


No resistance to biotech pharmaceuticals
(necessary for health vs. optional for
consumption)


U.S. government opposition to embryonic
stem cell research vs. more open
policies in Europe

Context for Biotechnology


U.S.


Belief in progress,
science and
technology.


Optimism about the
future


Belief in biotechnology
as a tool to aid the
developing world


Europe


“If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it”


Glass half empty


Precautionary
principle


No tangible benefit to
consumer


Food as culture


Fear factor from food
scandals

Red, White and Green


Europe divides biotechnology into red, white
and green


“Red” biotechnology is pharmaceutical. No
acceptance problems anywhere (but watch out
for nutraceuticals) .


“White “ biotechnology refers to biotechnological
processes for industrial uses, such as for
remediation or for purifying exhaust fumes.

“Green” biotechnology refers to agricultural
biotechnology. Strong objections in Europe,
some concerns from

U.S. farmers who fear loss of European market.

Hot Buttons


In Europe, agricultural biotechnology.


In the U.S., cloning and embryonic stem
cell research

OTHER FACTORS:

Free trade/protectionism

History (eugenics in Germany)

Food and Health Safety History
-

mad cow
disease, tainted soft drink cans, tainted
blood supply (France)

Global Industry


Ciba
-
Geigy and Sandoz begat Novartis,
which is based in Switzerland but is
establishing its primary research base in
Cambridge Mass. (because of Harvard
and MIT)


Syngenta formed from Novartis and
Zeneca


Monsanto bought Agracetus and Calgene
and was sold by Pharmacia


Pharmacia was bought by Pfizer

U.S./EU Stalemate


EU has had 5 year moratorium on
importation of GMO seeds


Vote on lifting ban scheduled for
early December (Syngenta’s Bt
-
11
maize, then Monsanto’s GA21 field
corn)


U.S., Argentina, Canada have filed
dispute proceedings in WTO against
EU

Role of Science and Regulation


USA
--

FDA,
science

based
decision
-
making
(but headed by a
political
appointee)


Federal
jurisdiction


Europe
--

newly
formed Food
Safety organization


Individual
countries regulate
selves


Scientists advise;
government
officials decide in
EU and individual
countries

Traceability/Labeling


EU Threshold %.9 to qualify as GMO


Traceability and Identity
preservation requirements


Cost to farmers
-
????


EU favors labeling


U.S. opposed
--

labeling process vs.
content (75% processed foods
contain biotech ingredients)


GM Wheat: Test Case


Monsanto has developed hard red spring wheat
that is herbicide resistant, Roundup Ready wheat.


Like Roundup Ready soybeans, wheat will reduce
herbicide use and will grow efficiently and
productively


Uncertain market conditions and risk of co
-
mingling with non GMO wheat make farmers
reluctant to use it


Farmers and consumer groups petitioned
government to suspend production of GM wheat
until its potential impact on exports could be
determined.


Developing World: Unintended
Consequences


US/EU conflict
-

Zambian crisis


Norman Borlaug, “Responsible biotechnology is not the
problem; starvation is.”


800 million go hungry every day; 38 million Africans face
death because of famine; 90% of Africans suffer from
hunger or related diseases.


70% of the African population works in agriculture.


IP issues


Africa only continent that does not use high yield seeds


Protein enriched maize


Vitamin enriched cassava


Potential to deliver vaccines through everyday food




Consequences: Continent



Hostile climate for EU plant
biologists may lead to exodus


Field trials sabotaged


2000 French scientists signed
petition to government protesting
destruction of 25 field trials ( ½ of
total)



Consequences: Great Britain


10/31 London Times headline




“More than 100 leading scientists
have made a once
-
in
-
a
-
generation
appeal to Tony Blair to save British
science from a tide of neglect and
abuse that is driving the brightest
young brains abroad”

Consequences


More than 100 British scientists
protested to Tony Blair the lack of
support for plant biotechnology


Public process “GM nation?”


more
than 600 debates


Scientific panel did not object to GM
agriculture, but public opposed and
government remained silent

Factors Contributing to Opposition
to Biotech Agriculture in Great
Britain



Fears about safety of food as a result of
mad cow disease


Distrust of government as a result of mad
cow disease


Trusted authorities
--

environmental
groups and NGOs


Precautionary principle and lack of
tangible benefit to consumer


Cultural and emotional as opposed to
scientific


Stem Cell Research


President Bush’s first speech to nation in
August 2001 was on stem cell research


Bush policy
-

no federal funds for
embryonic stem cell research. Funds only
for research involving existing stem cell
“lines”


Disputes over how many lines exist, how
viable they are, and whether adult and
embryonic stem cells function equally well


Basis of the controversy: when does life
begin? What is the “pro life” position?

The Flight of the Scientists


U.S. scientists

hindered in
ability to do stem cell
research


Some states allow funding
but shortage of funds


Caught up in “right to life
debate”


Scientists beginning to move
to more hospitable
environments


England,
Sweden, Singapore


Fewer and fewer students
trained in this highly
promising area of research


U.S. loses leading position in
this promising area of
research


Patients lose opportunity for
cures


British scientists

discouraged from doing plant
biotechnology research


Made to feel like pariahs by
public


Not supported by government


Field trials vandalized and
destroyed


Scientists predict they will
leave Great Britain for U.S.,
Canada, Australia


End of plant biotechnology,
and, ultimately, modern
agriculture in Great Britain


Science vs. Culture


No evidence that
consumption of GMO food
is harmful


Proven that GMO seeds
allow efficient, productive
farming that reduces land
and pesticide use


Unknown if GMO seeds
might contaminate
neighboring plants and
animals, but trials to date
have shown they do not.


Enormous consequences
for land use, sustainable
development



Embryonic stem cell
research offers hope to
millions who have no other
hope (Christopher Reeve)


Research at early stages;
enormous potential


Fundamental debate over
when life begins and which
life matters most


Philosophical, religious,
cultural, political


no
clear scientific answer


Enormous consequences
for patients and future
research

On the Horizon



Consumption of
cloned animals



just
received OK of FDA


Nutraceuticals

--

vitamin and nutrient
enhanced foods. For regulatory purposes,
are they food or pharmaceuticals?


Trade Wars

between U.S. And Europe
--

steel today, GMO food tomorrow

Individualized medicine



affordable
genomic sequencing

New inventions


biotech solution to
global warming (Craig Venter)



Conclusion: Who Will Have the
Last Word?


Louis Pasteur urged scientists to



“worship the spirit of criticism. If
reduced to itself, it is not an awakening of
ideas or a stimulant to great things, but,
without it, everything is fallible; it always
has the last word.”

No shortage of criticism in the transatlantic
dialogue over biotechnology; it is unclear
who will have the last word.