Aziz Elbehri
United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Biopharming (using crops as drug-producing bioreactors) offers tremendous economic and health benefits stimulated by improving biotechnology methods. However, these benefits must be weighed against the potential risks to the food supply system and the costs of containing pharma crops to meet zero-tolerance contamination requirements. A combination of strong and adaptable regulatory oversight with technological innovations is required to achieve the twin goals of capturing the benefits of biopharming and safeguarding the food system and the environment. This paper examines the demand pull driving biopharming and the risk and liabilities to agriculture and reviews the regulatory and technological responses to the containment challenge faced by the food industry. Read more…

Key words: Biopharming, biotechnology regulations, drug development, food system, plant-made pharmaceuticals, transgenic crops.