Biological weapons and the pharmaceutical industry

Research paper by S. Gorka, R. Sullivan

Indexed on: 24 Aug '12Published on: 24 Aug '12Published in: Pharmaceutical Medicine


In recent years biological weapons have become key political issues in the US and to a lesser extent within NATO. Increasing amounts of time and money are being devoted to this particularly amoral weapon of mass destruction. With the success of the nuclear and chemical weapons conventions there has been a realization that the present Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC) is inadequate for the twenty-first century. In particular, it has obvious deficiencies with respect to verification and enforcement procedures. Since the commissioning of the UN Ad Hoc Group on biological weapons, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry have been identified as key components for counter-proliferation and control measures. This article examines the implications of biological weapons verification and export controls on the pharmaceutical industry. However, we begin with a brief historical and political introduction to this complex subject.