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A Bio of BIO: Lobbying for Biotech Corporations
What is BIO?
“Biotechnology Industry Organization”
o World’s biggest biotech lobby group
o Based in Washington D.C.
o Represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies as well as some universities and state biotech centres in the U.S. and 33 other nations.
BIO members are involved in the research and development of genetically engineered medical, agricultural, industrial and “environmental” products.
o To lobby governments to secure corporate and biotech friendly policies (like tax breaks) and regulations (lax and speedy).
o To influence media to create good press about biotech and the industry. BIO meets with the editorial boards of newspapers, puts out press releases and organizes their annual conferences to get good PR [public relations].
o To keep the industry alive by blostering the business of companies. BIO organizes networking and partnering opportunities. Sell, Sell, Sell!
BIO and Pharmaceuticals
Medical biotech is the largest sector of the biotech industry. BIO’s lobbying priorities have been to fight government price controls on drugs.
BIO and Biowarfare
“To keep the industry in the minds of investors after September 11, BIO bought 100 slots for its television commercial on New York cable news and business shows. BIO also sponsored a special section on biotech in For tune magazine.” – BIO.
The threat of biowarfare has made the vaccine business bigger than ever. The new “biodefense” business is a big money-making opportunity for biotech corporations. But this research can also create the deadliest bioweapons. $6 billion is now being spent across the U.S. to create new and upgraded biolabs. (See www.sunshine-project.org for more info) The war on terrorism is providing other goodies to corporations. For example, the bill that created the Dept. of Homeland Security also protects Eli Lilly from lawsuits since there are concerns that its mercury-based vaccine preservative causes autism in children.
BIO in Space
BIO and NASA are working together to do biotech experiments in space. Some biotech experiments have already been performed on the space shuttle, growing pathogens that cause disease for example.
BIO Propaganda BIO created the teacher-student propaganda organization “Biotechnology Institute”, in the same building as the National Science Teachers Association. (www.biotechinstitute.org) The biotech industry has created lots of materials for teachers and students .
What is the BIO Annual Convention?
BIO organizes an annual convention and trade show -the largest biotechnology event in the world. It’s a massive exercise in brainwashing and indoctrination that targets:
o Corporate Employees: The convention includes over 100 “information” sessions on biotech drugs and crops, ways to combat anti-biotech activists, and advice on getting products through regulation. This convention is a great chance to make sure all corporate employees, academic scientists and government officials learn the latest PR lines and are all saying the same thing. It is a morale booster – its reassuring to be surrounded by corporate suits and lots of money – it must be the right place to be?
o Media: The convention is a massive PR exercise. Inside the convention, BIO sets up a room for journalists that has all the corporate press releases as well as computers for reporters to write and file their stories – a perfect way to get BIO’s story reported just the way they want. BIO’s PR budget for their 2001 convention was estimated to be $5 million USD.
o Government: BIO arranges for government officials to speak at the convention and to the media. Many local and regional governments sponsor the convention and set up booths to sell their region as a good place to set up business.
“The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity for media to discover just how deeply biotechnology is already improving our daily lives.” – BIO Pres. Carl Feldbaum, 2002
Who goes to the BIO conventions? The convention is expensive and inaccessible to the public. Registration fees in 2003 are $1,495 U.S for BIO Members, Government Reps and Academics or $1,995 U.S. for Non-Members. Contrary to BIO’s publicity, BIO is not a scientific conference, it is a business convention.
(See full table in PDF version)