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Critics Rip U.S. Biotechnology Panel

A new report says a White House committee has failed to properly oversee the nation's biotech policies. WASHINGTON--The Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee, which was created to address the scientific problems arising from the burgeoning biotechnology industry, is being criticized for failing to do its job. The government body has been accused in one recent report of overstepping its charter by encroaching on the authority of other federal agencies and of hiding its work from the publ

Jeffrey Mervis


A new report says a White House committee has failed to properly oversee the nation's biotech policies.
WASHINGTON--The Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee, which was created to address the scientific problems arising from the burgeoning biotechnology industry, is being criticized for failing to do its job.

The government body has been accused in one recent report of overstepping its charter by encroaching on the authority of other federal agencies and of hiding its work from the public. And a rare open meeting of the group, held last month to let outsiders comment on what improvements are needed, generated complaints about closed meetings, a preoccupation with regulation, and insufficient interest in tracking progress in the field.

While the committee has spent a great deal of time over the past five years on regulatory matters, says Margaret Mellon, director of biotechnology policy for the National Wildlife Federation, "little has been heard from the...

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