Australian Regulations Will Label Drugs Tested on Human Embryos

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 22, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australian Regulations Will Label Drugs Tested on Human Embryos

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 22, 2003

Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — New regulations adopted by the Australian government will require labeling any drugs when human embryos, human embryonic stem cells, or materials derived from them are used in the manufacture or testing.

Australian Senator Brian Harradine, the longest serving member of the Australian Senate and a leading pro-life advocate, believes the regulations are a world first.

In a statement provided to LifeNews.com, Harradine called the new regulations "a significant step forward for consumers’ right to know.’"

Harradine tried to include the regulations last year as an amendment to the Research Involving Human Embryos Act, Australia’s law allowing the destruction of human embryos in scientific research.

"The passage of the Research Involving Human Embryos Act late last year allowed a wide variety of research using human embryos. One of the principal uses of human embryos and human embryonic stem cells is expected to be the testing and manufacture of drugs," Harradine explains.

This year, Harradine tried to attach the pro-life labeling amendment to a drug-related bill. He then spent the next four months negotiating with the Australian government.

"I was very concerned that consumers with an ethical objection to the destruction of human embryos would be forced to be morally complicit in the use of these drugs, simply because information was hidden from them," Harradine says.

The Australian government has agreed to require pharmaceutical companies to provide clear information in both materials to doctors and consumers for all registered drugs in Australia. The information must be available by July 1, 2004.

"These regulations are a small consolation for the tragic passage last year of legislation which allows the destruction of human embryos for research," Harradine concluded.