Friday, November 18, 2005

"The Year of the Stem Cell" - Interview with George Annas

In "The Year of the Stem Cell," George Annas is interviewed by Sujatha Byravan (President, Council for Responsible Genetics, US), published in the latest issue of Gene Watch. Of particular interest to Patenting Lives are his comments on public regulation and how to ensure fair and equitable distribution to the public of the benefits arising from any such research. Any such regulation should ensure that the outcomes of publicly funded research do not become purely private concerns, especially when national public health systems are not necessarily effective in ensuring the transfer of such benefits to the general public. Indeed, George Annas states that restrictive patenting in this area of scientific research should be prohibited. He also raises the importance of the public accountability of such research as the primary concern. Perhaps, the question is raised and indeed remains as to whether such accountability can ever be achieved where commercial measures of invention, such as patenting measures, persist as the model of dissemination for biotechnological innovation, at least in these particular areas of scientific industry and research.

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