The United Nations has called on countries to ban all forms of human cloning “incompatable with human dignity.” The American religious right claims victory, but others say the declaration is the result of political maneuvering influenced by pressure from the United States.
When the backers of California’s stem cell initiative were seeking voter support last year, they not only promised cures for dread diseases, but also licensing revenue for the state. A statement posted on the initiative proponents’ CuresforCalifornia.com Web site says that ‘California will benefit for decades from patents and royalties that result from the research.’ But most biotech IP lawyers say it is foolhardy and wildly optimistic to predict that royalty revenue will come to California in the uncertain area of stem cell-derived therapies.
The Food and Drug Administration will create an independent board to more aggressively monitor the safety of drugs on the market as part of an effort to restore public confidence in the nation’s prescription drug supply, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt announced yesterday.
The pharmaceutical industry was traumatized in 2004 when Merck had to withdraw its $2.5 billion COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx from the market due to potentially lethal side effects. Pharmaceutical companies are already struggling to deal with increasing generic competition and stringent approval standards in an effective manner. Will the aftereffects of a disastrous 2004 hamper industry growth in the years to come?