Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review

Genetically modified foods

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 27 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:581

Rapid Response:

Informing patients if drugs contain genetically modified substances?

Editor-- We read with interest your recent editorial and clinical
review on genetically modified foods 1. One such substance which appears
to commonly come from a genetically modified source is soya bean oil and
since there is a
move towards the labelling of such substances in order that the public are
made aware if they are consuming genetically modified products, this
immediately caught our attention .

In the field of anaesthesia one of the most commonly used intravenous
induction agent is Propofol. It is also widely used for sedation in
Intensive Care Units. This drug is presented as an emulsion with soya bean
oil as one of
the ingredients of the vehicle solution.

Propofol is one of the number of drugs in daily use in anaesthesia
and other fields of medicine which may contain genetically modified
ingredients. It has occurred to us that, in line with the Government
policy on the labelling of
genetically modified foods, perhaps we should be informing patients if any
of the drugs they are to receive contain genetically modified substances.
Is it now the responsibility of the manufacturers to declare the presence
of genetically modified substances in their products or to declare them
free of genetic modification if this is the case?

Venkat Raghavan,
Senior House Officer in Anaesthetics

Christina Wood,
Specialist Registrar in Anaesthetics

Mayday University Hospital,
Thornton Heath,
Surrey CR7 7YE

1 Leighton Jones. Genetically Modified Foods BMJ 1999;318:581-584
(27 February)

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 April 1999
Venkat Raghavan