09 September 1997
EU urged to exempt drugs from BSE rules
EUROPEAN Union scientists have advised that pharmaceuticals and cosmetics could be
exempted from new safety rules intended to curb the spread of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE). This would avert a potential shortage of medicines in
Europe and a trade row with the US.
The new rules ban tallow and its derivatives, used in an
estimated 80% of pharmaceuticals, from January.
There is now likely to be a formal proposal that pharmaceuticals and
cosmetics containing derivatives that have been heat-treated, according to one
of three approved methods, should be exempted.
But up to 80% of capsules are believed to contain derivatives of gelatine. It
is less clear-cut how these can be guaranteed BSE-free.