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Industry's Role, Concerns, and Interests in the Negotiation of a BWC Compliance Protocol (From Biological Weapons Proliferation: Reasons for Concern, Courses of Action, P 38-51, 1998, -- See NCJ-193965)

NCJ Number
Gillian R. Woollett M.A.
Date Published
January 1998
14 pages
This essay discusses the concerns on the part of the pharmaceutical industry regarding a Biological Weapons Convention compliance agreement.
The companies of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) support reducing the threat of biological weapons. PhRMA is an association representing companies that develop over 90 percent of the new medicines used around the world. PhRMA has been working with the United States and other governments to create a compliance protocol to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). A good compliance protocol will give confidence to the international community that the threat from biological weapons is reduced. While no PhRMA company is making biological weapons, the industry recognizes that many of the technologies that it uses to develop new drugs and biologics could be used to make biological agents. As a result of this dual-purpose technology, PhRMA insists that the BWC’s monitoring regime be founded on due process and the presumption of innocence. PhRMA will not support a poorly conceived compliance protocol that risks the legitimate aims of the pharmaceutical industry to use existing and emerging biomedical technologies to create medicines. An analysis of the costs and benefits of all aspects of the protocol will be critical to avoid unnecessarily sacrificing unmet medical needs and the health of the general public to overly ambitious concepts for a BWC protocol. The principle concerns of the PhRMA are the loss of confidential or proprietary business information (CBI), unwarranted damage to the reputation of pharmaceutical companies, and new, expensive regulations. While not a principal force behind the development of such a protocol, PhRMA companies will provide expert assistance to clarify for the negotiators what can be achieved technically so that they can craft a BWC protocol based on solid science.