A lack of knowledge and understanding is one of the main reasons why many people are opposed to biotechnology. In addition, we tend to view things that are natural as less risky or dangerous than those created by man, as Food Insight reports. Biotechnology is a scientific field in constant evolution. While it has many benefits, such as reducing our environmental footprint and helping to treat diseases and ailments, it is not without drawbacks.
The four main concerns revolve around ethical, security, bioterrorism and environmental issues. Biotechnological health is going through what all other emerging scientific disciplines are experiencing: the challenge of defining its ethical limits. Research, cost and privacy issues raise concerns that third party payers, employers, suppliers and policy makers will face in the coming years. As the first decade of the 21st century reaches its midpoint, Biotechnology Healthcare has identified five topics that dominate ethical discussions about biotechnological medicine.
1 These issues will continue to generate controversy in the near future, forcing third-party payers, employers and union purchasers, and healthcare providers to address the political implications of some or all of them for years to come. In a 2002 article published in Epidemiology Review, Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, professor of bioethics and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, wrote: “It is critical to ensure that research is conducted in a responsible manner throughout the study cycle, from the way participants are selected to the way data is entered, analyzed and reported. Attention must be paid to every aspect of research conduct for the success of the scientific enterprise and to protect study participants and others from unnecessary harm. Arturo L.
Caplan, PhD2, who heads the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, highlighted in a recent interview with Biotechnology Healthcare that researchers must ensure that clinical trials are not distorted by inconsistent arrangements. In addition, he says, volunteers should not be recruited in a way that suggests that they are being paid bribes, as opposed to reimbursing legitimate expenses. Protecting patient privacy is a growing concern, thanks to technology that allows the human genome to be decoded. However, as scientists become experts at deciphering a person's genetic makeup, compromising information about a person's future health is increasingly likely to become available.
For example, you may know that a 5-year-old child will develop serious heart disease later in life, but does a potential employer have a right to know? How will this knowledge affect a person's ability to get a job, insurance, or a mortgage? Should insurers and others have such information? This is a thorny problem destined to become even thornier. However, even this statement leaves open the question of the extent to which the needs of society can eclipse a person's rights. This is especially true in the wake of the Patriot Act. By reflecting the public's fears of terrorism, federal law is triggering an intense debate about people's right to privacy and the security concerns of society in general.
With legal challenges pending, it's easy to see how even a managed care ethical statement can cause difficulties. This should come as no surprise. Stem cell research is anathema to the religious right and made its way in the recent presidential elections. National Library of Medicine8600 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20894.Biotechnology companies often claim that genetically modified organisms (GMOs), specifically genetically altered seeds, are essential scientific advances needed to feed the world, protect the environment and reduce poverty in developing countries.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and its constellation of international centers around the world responsible for research to improve food security in the developing world echo this view, which is based on two fundamental assumptions. The first is that hunger is due to a gap between food production and the density or growth rate of the human population. The second is that genetic engineering is the only or best way to increase agricultural production and therefore meet future food needs. The debate, of course, pits people who believe that research could one day find cures for diseases with others who claim that it violates human life.
One of the main concerns is that international pressures to gain markets and profits are causing companies to release transgenic crops too quickly, without taking due account of long-term impacts on people or the ecosystem. Some warn that these databases could be used to track people or discriminate on the basis of private medical records, a dystopian vision of the future than anyone who saw the movie GATTACA. In response, the federal government wants the Bioshield Project to encourage the development of treatments, including preventive drugs and vaccines, that are available in sufficient quantities to protect as many people as possible. From the utilitarian point of view, an ethical action is the one that produces the greatest balance between good and evil or the greatest good for the greatest number of people.