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Europe approves patenting of biotechnological inventions

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7144.1553j (Published 23 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1553
  1. Rory Watson
  1. Brussels

    Pharmaceutical companies and various patient groups are welcoming the arrival of legislation that will allow biotechnological inventions to be patented in the European Union. They believe that it will speed up the search for effective treatment for previously incurable diseases.

    Environmentalists and a number of religious and farming organisations, however, are reacting with dismay to the European Parliament's decision last week to give an overwhelming endorsement to the EU-wide measures, which end 10 years of acrimonious and emotional debate. They maintain that insufficient ethical safeguards have been built into the legislation and that it will enable drug multinationals to …

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