Core ethical value


Life sciences and biotechnology have given rise to significant public attention and debate. Promoting dialogue among stakeholders and organising public debates will accompany and guide the development of life sciences and biotechnology and ensure effective and responsible policies that are in harmony with societal values. Without broad public acceptance and support, the development and use of life sciences and biotechnology in Europe will be contentious. Our society should offer the necessary safeguards to ensure that the development and application of life sciences and biotechnology take place respecting the fundamental values of human life and dignity. Europe needs to achieve a common understanding among all stakeholders and policy makers and resolve diverging views. If biotechnology is to work for Europe, political leaders must make some tough choices to handle the ethical dimension and to harness biotech’s potential so that it meets the needs and expectations of EU citizens.


EuropaBio's Core Ethical Values Charter is a pledge of responsible behaviour and all members of EuropaBio are bound by them. We believe that the swift and steady development of science and technology calls for rapid identification and clarification of the ethical aspects of this development. We want to anticipate and explore the impact of change and to discuss its effects with the scientific community, the public and their elected representatives. The well-being of humans and animals, and the quality of our environment are the major concerns of any civilised society. They are fully shared by all of EuropaBio's member companies. We support authorisation procedures for genetically modified organisms based on rigorous and science-based safety assessments that are coherent, transparent and predictable. We believe that both the scientific community and the industry should invest enough time and energy to work together with the public on addressing their concerns.
 

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PREAMBLE 

1. EuropaBio, European Association for Bioindustries, represents large, small and  medium sized companies as well as National non-governmental associations  which operate in a Member State, or candidate Member State of the European  Union or the European Free Trade Association and are engaged in or represent  companies that carry out research, development, testing, manufacturing,  marketing, sales and distribution of biotechnology products and services in the  field of healthcare, renewable energy, chemical products and materials,  agriculture, food and environment. To see the OECD’s definition of biotechnology, please visit: http://www.europabio.org/what-biotechnology-0. For more information about EuropaBio and its members, please visit our website:  http://www.europabio.org/about-europabio

 
2. EuropaBio's mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnologybased industry in Europe.  
 
3. EuropaBio proactively supports an independent science- based regulatory framework.  
 
4. EuropaBio recognizes its responsibility to address ethical concerns of society and  to encourage, through dialogue, a better mutual understanding of such concerns.   These concerns include cultural or religious aspects, possible environmental  impact and the adequacy of regulations. 
 
5. These Core Ethical Values are addressed to consumers, patients, the industrial  and agricultural communities, politicians, legislators, the media, organizations and  others who wish to know about the key ethical values that underpin our work. All , members of EuropaBio commit to these Core Ethical Values. 
 
6. Since biotechnology is innovative and develops rapidly, and since societal  preferences are developing as well, these Core Ethical Values may be modified  over time to address new issues and new insights in the future.
 
 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES 

7. We are committed to the socially responsible use of biotechnology including  genetic engineering to improve the quality of life, to prevent, diagnose, treat and  cure diseases, to improve the quality and quantity of food and feedstuffs, to  produce chemicals and to clean up hazardous wastes.
 
8. We are committed to high ethical standards in the development and use of safe  and effective products. 
 
9. We develop and use biotechnology with respect for human dignity and human  rights. We take steps to avoid misuse of our technologies. 
 
10. We are committed to increasing understanding of biotechnology among all  stakeholders including the public. 
 
11. We are committed to an open, informed dialogue with all interested groups  (stakeholders) about the ethical, social, environmental and economic aspects of  biotechnology and its applications.  
 
12. We communicate and share timely and appropriate information about  biotechnology and its derived products and services in an accurate and balanced  manner and within the legislative framework. 
 
13. We strive to innovate and to achieve sustainable solutions for society. We give  priority to health, safety and environmental protection when undertaking the  research, development, manufacturing as well as in the distribution of our  products and services.  
 
14. We support transparent product information that enables informed consumer  choice. 
 
15. We are committed to reduce, refine and replace ( 3R’s) animal testing as well as  to develop and promote alternatives and aim to achieve very high standards of  animal well being.     We commit to minimize pain and distress for the animals we use and to use  animals in our research only when scientifically necessary or required by EU  regulations. 
  
16. We support the Biological Weapons Convention banning development and use of  biological weapons and will not undertake any research or other activities  intended for use in developing, testing or producing such weapons.  
 
17. We support the conservation of biological diversity and the exchange of  biotechnology between developed and developing countries duly considering  each country’s cultural differences.  
 
18. We support the principles embodied in the United Nations Convention on  Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect biological diversity including adherence to the  principles of access and benefit sharing. 
  
19. We support the development of bio-preparedness [to prepare for natural threats  and biological warfare] including detection, prevention and bioremediation to  support public health and security. 
 
20. We support cleaner industrial and municipal processes through biotechnology.  
 
 

HEALTHCARE

21. We respect codes of ethics of the healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat disease and prescribe, dispense, and use our products or make use of our services whether in research, development or patient care. 
 
22. We support the principles of openness and transparency in our relations with  patients and patient groups, to respect and safeguard their independence. (See also: http://www.europabio.org/patients.htm
 
23. We respect individual privacy and support the protection of the confidentiality of  medical information, which includes genetic information.  
 
 We oppose the use or disclosure of individually identifiable medical information,  without informed consent, unless required by law or by regulation to monitor the m safety of our products.  
 
 We oppose any use or disclosure of medical information which could lead to  intolerance or stigmatization.  
 
24. We ensure within our responsibilities that the informed consent of all individuals  participating in our clinical research programmes is adequately obtained. When  individuals are unable to give their consent, it should be sought from their legally  authorized representative.  
 
25. We recognise and support the position that severe, rare, as well as neglected  diseases are public health priorities and we take our shared responsibility in these  areas seriously.  
 
26. We oppose the use of cloning technologies to reproduce human beings.     
 
27. We are committed to ethical research on different types of stem cells. We support  carefully considered embryonic or hybrid stem cell research in order to advance  knowledge in biomedicine and its applications in healthcare within the legislative  framework of each country.  
 
28. We support the compensation of human tissue donors only for their expenses and  inconvenience, when appropriate. 
 
29. We support the identification and relevant disclosure of information relating to  (perceived or real) conflicts of interest including financial ones. Conflicts of interest  should be avoided, wherever and to the extent possible. When they cannot be  avoided these conflicts should be managed so that they neither compromise the  safety or well being of patients and consumers nor data integrity. 
   
30. We support the timely posting of clinical trial information in patients and making  the results of such clinical research publicly available in a timely fashion  regardless of its outcome also in order to prevent unnecessary repetition of  clinical trials.  
 
31. We support the current bans on human germ line gene therapy.  
 
32  We support the provision of applicable information and/or counseling to patients  prior to and after genetic testing.
 
33. We condemn the abuse of medicinal products to enhance athletic performance.  
  
34. We support the principles contained in relevant international declarations such as  those listed hereunder, but not limited hereto:  
 
The Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving  Human Subjects (World Medical Association)  
 
The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights and its additional  protocols (UNESCO)  
 
Convention for the protection of Human Rights and dignity of the human being  with regard to the application of biology and medicine: Convention on Human  Rights and Biomedicine and its Additional Protocols: (Council of Europe)  
 
The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (UNESCO) 
 
 

AGRICULTURE, FOOD, FEED, FIBRE, FUEL AND THE ENVIRONMENT 

35. We support improvements in the quality and accessibility of agricultural products,  in order to enhance the world’s food, feedstuff and industrial raw materials and  renewable energy supplies.   
 
We promote efficient and sustainable agriculture and support new  biotechnological developments, which offer additional opportunities for plant  breeders and farmers to grow, protect and improve their crops and to use natural  resources more effectively.  
 
36. We support the sustainable use of plant material for production of bio-based  products and of biomass.  
 
 

CORE ETHICAL VALUES 

37. All members of EuropaBio voluntarily adhere to these Core Ethical Values.   Member companies shall not represent any position as being that of EuropaBio  unless that position has been approved by the Council and / or Board of  EuropaBio.  
 
Member companies also recognize EuropaBio’s responsibility to consider deviations by its members from these Core Ethical Values and to recommend  appropriate responses after a reasonable due process in accordance with the  EuropaBio Statutes Article 5.    
 
EuropaBio staff shall adhere to the EU Code of Conduct for Interest 
Representation in particular the principles and rules.  We undertake to behave in  line with the principles of openness, transparency, honesty and integrity.  
 
When translated, the original English text prevails.
 
Approved as modified by EuropaBio’s General Assembly, 24 June 2009.  According to Article 4 of the EuropaBio Statutes all Members and Associate  Members shall adhere to the Core Ethical Values of the Association.