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GE medicine derived from human/mouse hybrid gene

22 March 2006

GE medicine derived from human/mouse hybrid gene

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for assurances that no drug trials involving GE medicines are being carried out in New Zealand without participants being informed that the drug is genetically engineered.

Her call follows confirmation that the medicine (TGN1412) that has left six men in London seriously ill, including a New Zealander, was genetically engineered and is derived from a human/mouse hybrid gene.

Professor Peter Wills of Auckland University has confirmed this after searching the original patents that were granted for this medicine.

Ms Kedgley says trials involving genetically engineered medicines are inherently more risky than other drug trials because of the possibility that unintended side effects could occur. "It is possible that the severe symptoms the six men are experiencing are unanticipated side effects of the genetic engineering process, and this needs to be fully explored," she says.

"In the meantime it is essential that all participants in drug trials are informed whenever genetically engineered medicines are involved, so that volunteers are aware of the increased risk. I am seeking government assurance that this is the case."

Ms Kedgley says it is also important that all medicines which are derived from a genetically engineered process are labelled as such.

"Consumers have a right to know when medicines they are taking are derived from GE, just as they are entitled to know whether food contains GE ingredients in it or not."


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