Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Psychiatrist Needed

This one of the more bizarre news items coming from the Soviets Russians.
The Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) has shut down the export from the country of all human medical biological materials, from hair to blood samples. According to information obtained by Kommersant, the decision by the FTS was prompted by a report submitted to Vladimir Putin by the FSB that focuses on bioterrorism and the alleged development by the West of "genetically engineered biological weapons."

As of May 28, the export of materials for clinical research and analyses is forbidden until further notice.
OK, Putie and his KGB cronies are a bit paranoid. Not that there's anything wrong with being paranoid or anything.
This move could threaten the lives of dozens of patients in the country and completely paralyze clinical research trials being conducted by Western pharmaceutical companies in Russia, a business that is estimated to be worth $100-150 million annually
Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry told Kommersant yesterday that two courier firms, DHL and TNT Express, informed their clients yesterday that as of May 29, a decision by the FTS prohibits the sending of biological materials out of Russia. DHL referred to an "internal directive" from the FTS and suggested to clients that they contact the Russian Consumer Protection Oversight Agency (Rospotrebnadzor) for an explanation of the decree.
But this is just abject fear of some unknown boogeyman.
Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) spokesman Alexei Brevnov told Kommersant yesterday that "this decree will be a serious blow to our nation's health – it will set it back years. It makes conducting clinical trials in Russia much more difficult." According to Mr. Brevnov, GSK recently had an similar run-in with the Russian authorities over a pediatric vaccine trial in a private clinic in Volgograd: the local prosecutor's office sued the company, alleging that the study was illegal, and pressed criminal charges against three doctors.

In Russia, clinical trials are an obligatory step in the approval of any new drug for introduction into the Russian market.

Yesterday no one from either the FTS or the Russian Ministry of Health was able to explain the precise reasons behind the ban on the export of biological materials, a move that will have grave consequences for research and clinical analyses for patients in Russian hospitals.
Of course they were unable to explain it. I doubt that Putie could explain it without coming off like a certifiable nut.
According to the source, the report thus characterizes the situation in the market for clinical trials: several large Western medical centers that receive shipments of biological materials from Russia are said to be involved in the development of "genetically engineered biological weapons" for use against the Russian population. The list of organizations purportedly working on the project includes the Harvard School of Public Health, the American International Health Alliance, the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice, the Swedish Karolinska Institute and Agency for International Development, and the Indian Genome Institute. Kommersant's source reported that the report contains a wealth of fantastical details about the development of "ethnically oriented" biological weapons capable of rendering Russia's population sterile and even killing it off.
Tinfoil helmet and Death Ray Deflector Vest™ anybody?

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