Regulations Reduce Biotech Innovation

(p. A15) Modern genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or GM, has been around since the 1970s. Yet with the notable exception of biopharmaceuticals–beginning with the marketing of human insulin in 1982 and now accounting for more than 20% of U.S. drug expenditures–genetic engineering has failed to realize anything approaching its potential for vertical progress.
The reason is plain: In the non-pharmaceutical sectors, federal regulators for years seemingly have done everything they can to prevent U.S. researchers and companies from employing genetic engineering to create the “next big thing.”
. . .
Regulatory disincentives are potent. It costs about $136 million to bring a genetically engineered crop plant to market. This is the primary reason more than 99% of such crop plants are those that are grown at huge scale: . . .
. . .
“Biopharming”–the once-promising biotechnology area that uses genetic engineering techniques to induce crops such as corn, tomatoes and tobacco to produce high concentrations of high-value pharmaceuticals (one of which is the Ebola drug, ZMapp)–is moribund because of the Agriculture Department’s extraordinary regulatory burdens. Thanks to EPA’s policies, which discriminate against organisms modified with the most precise and predictable techniques, the high hopes for genetically engineered “biorational” microbial pesticides and microorganisms to clean up toxic wastes have evaporated.

For the full commentary, see:
HENRY I. MILLER. “Regulators Put the Brakes On Biotech; Thanks to EPA, hopes have evaporated for genetically engineered microorganisms to clean up toxic wastes.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., Jan. 14, 2015): A15.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 13, 2015.)

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