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BMJ 2001; 322 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7280.190 (Published 27 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:190

FDA demands tissue bank registration: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a rule requiring all tissue banks to register and list their products with the agency. The rule covers traditional transplantable tissues, such as skin and heart valves, as well as new products, such as fetal cells used to treat Parkinson's disease. The provisions will allow the FDA to track tissue transmissible diseases.

Belgium to decriminalise cannabis: Belgium is set to become the second country in the European Union, after the Netherlands, to decriminalise the use of cannabis. The Belgian cabinet has approved the personal use of the soft drug by anyone over the age of 18 and will now submit the proposal to parliament to amend the existing legislation, which dates from 1921. It will, however, remain a crime to deal in cannabis, produce it in commercial quantities, or supply it to minors.

BMA welcomes bill on organ transplantation: The BMA has welcomed a private member's bill, put forward by former health secretary Kenneth Clarke, MP, which is designed to update the existing law on human organ transplantation. It aims to amend section 1 of the Human Tissue Act 1961, so that it more accurately reflects existing medical practice. For example, it makes clear that doctors do not have to consult every living relative of a donor.

Spanish nurses arrive to work in the NHS: The first group of 60 nurses recruited from Spain arrived in the United Kingdom last week. They will work in hospital trusts in the north west of England. The nurses are all fully qualified.

UK drug industry plans to tackle animal activists: The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has proposed a plan to counter the intimidation and harassment tactics of animal extremists. The association recommends that information about threats and violence should be made public.

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