Friday 28 of september 2012
Will the fundamental changes, which are about to take place, be debated?
Has there been any serious consideration about what is at stake, on a financial and ethical level?
While the Agency in biomedicine is presenting its annual report, in which it states the importance of “regulatory stability “ and transparency in the field of bioethics, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation questions the French political leaders about two preoccupying issues.
Embryonic research: the principle of protection will become an exception.
The senate’s commission for social affairs will be examining, this Wednesday, 3rd of October, a bill issued by the group RDSE, which intends to establish a framed authorization regime for embryonic and embryonic stem cell research. This text, which is meant to overrun the current system based on the principle of embryonic research prohibition and in which are included various derogations, should be examined during a public session on the 15th of October.
During his campaign, the president expressed the will to suppress the ban regarding human embryonic research. However, this transformation will constitute an upheaval in French law which has been organized around this “founding prohibition”: “law insures primacy of people, prohibiting any offence against Man’s dignity, and guarantees the respect of human beings from the very beginning of their lives (article 16 of the civil code)”. This new law will only lead to a paradigm shift in which human protection will become an exception within the new rule of non-protection.
One can ask oneself about Mr Holland’s support in this parliamentary initiate as he had placed not only the will to respect the fundamentals of the republican pact but also the importance of democratic debate, in his campaign promises. And this, especially since it is an obligation for general counselling to be held before any new bioethical modification is made*.
On this occasion, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation reminds citizens that they do not have access to all the information regarding cell therapy. What is stake on a financial level has never been clarified. The Foundation therefore asks the biomedicine agency to respect its obligation of presenting a comparative review of the advances in stem cell research (embryonic and non-embryonic) in parliament (2011 law on bioethics). Otherwise, how could the members of parliament possibly change a whole system which hasn’t even been submitted to evaluation?
New prenatal screening test for Down Syndrome: an astounding silence.
A new prenatal screening test for Down Syndrome, coming over from the US, was put on the market in several European countries last summer.
In France, clinical studies have been launched in order to evaluate the reliability of this new technique. One of them, which has been widely publicized for weeks, is been carried out partly thanks to public funds.
However, this study is also subject to such lucrative perspectives that it triggered market speculation across the Atlantic closely followed by an investigation by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).
During its 1st press conference of the year, the Biomedicine Agency has just indicated that the issue is going to need reflection faster than expected. The arrival of these tests was announced years ago but no reflection including the public has been initiated yet.
The least that could be done is shedding the light on:
- The hundreds of millions of euros that France has been spending on generalized Down Syndrome screening tests over the past 15 years and which lead to the elimination of 96% of a population, genome being the only criteria for selection (is our aim 100%?);
- The status of those who, for the first time, would be both promoters of the new diagnosis and hospital practitioners, but also laboratory councillors and organization experts capable of orientating the choices of the public.