Brussels rejects biotechnology directive

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 11 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:619

European Union legislators and the pharmaceutical industry are desperately analysing the impact of the European parliament's unexpected decision on 1 March to reject plans setting common standards for the patenting of biotechnological inventions.

The parliament's rejection of the draft legislation by 240 votes to 188 with 23 abstentions ends seven years of effort designed to balance respect for the dignity of life with the creation of a legal framework to encourage biotechnological research and commercial development in the union.

The rejection surprised most parliamentary observers as it seemed that, a few weeks before, a small delegation of senior European MPs (MEPs) had ironed out their final differences with member governments and built …

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