Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine - PRESS RELEASE - May 1996


London - Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (DLRM) called for a moratorium on transgenic transplants at its press launch today in London's Westminster Central Hall. According to Dr. André Menache, the organisation's President, "It is hard to think of a better way to transfer animal viruses into human beings." He cited HIV as an example, which is thought to have been transferred to human beings from monkeys. The current problem of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), having possibly been transferred to humans from cows as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD) is another.

Dr. Jonathan Allan, a prominent U.S. virologist, has said, "it only takes one transmission from one baboon to a human to start an epidemic. There's no way to make it safe." Menache added to this critique and said that, "transgenic transplants represent one experimental technique (the production of animals with human genes) superimposed upon another (the transplantation of transgenic organs into human beings). This translates into a statistical nightmare, since there is an exponential increase in unknown risks."

DLRM member and panellist, Dr. Edward J. Moore, a Scottish epidemiologist, expressed concern over the serious decline in human health in Britain. Figures from the Central Statistical Office in London showed a 6% rise in the proportion of people reporting long-standing illnesses and disability from 1974 (14%) and 1993 (20%):

"Much human illness could be prevented by refraining from cigarettes and overuse of alcohol, adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, and regular exercise," advised Moore. Such preventive measures could eliminate the need for animal-to-human transplants, and potentially reduce the demand for human organs. It was also pointed out how much cheaper and more efficient it would be to prevent disease rather than have to cure it.

New York-based author and environmental policy specialist Alix Fano, described how multinational drug firms and biotechnology companies expect to profit from the transgenic transplantation market - a market whose potential worth has been estimated at 6 billion U.S. dollars annually.

DLRM is an expansion of Doctors in Britain Against Animal Experiments (DBAE). DBAE was founded in 1990 to eliminate animal experimentation as a basis for human medical practice because, its members maintained, extrapolating experimental results from one species to another was scientifically unsound. DLRM was formed after lawyers joined doctors in calling for an end to animal experimentation at an international scientific congress in London in 1995.

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Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (DLRM)
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