Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 20, 2000



 As we stand at the dawn of a new century, we recognize the enormous
potential that biotechnology holds for improving the quality of life here
in the United States and around the world.  These technologies, which draw
on our understanding of the life sciences to develop products and solve
problems, are progressing at an exponential rate and promise to make
unprecedented contributions to public health and safety, a cleaner
environment, and economic prosperity.

     Today, a third of all new medicines in development are based on
biotechnology.  Designed to attack the underlying cause of an illness, not
just its symptoms, these medicines have tremendous potential to provide not
only more effective treatments, but also cures.  With improved
under-standing of cellular and genetic processes, scientists have opened
exciting new avenues of research into treatments for devastating diseases
-- like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, AIDS, and
cancer -- that affect millions of Americans.  Biotechnology has also given
us several new vaccines, including one for rotavirus, now being tested
clinically, that could eradicate an illness responsible for the deaths of
more than 800,000 infants and children each year.

     The impact of biotechnology is far-reaching.  Bioreme-diation
technologies are cleaning our environment by removing toxic substances from
contaminated soils and ground water.  Agricultural biotechnology reduces
our dependence on pesticides.  Manufacturing processes based on
biotechnology make it possible to produce paper and chemicals with less
energy, less pollution, and less waste.  Forensic technologies based on our
growing knowledge of DNA help us exonerate the innocent and bring criminals
to justice.

     The biotechnology industry is also improving lives through its
substantial economic impact.  Biotechnology has stimulated the creation and
growth of small businesses, generated new jobs, and encouraged agricultural
and industrial innovation.  The industry currently employs more than
150,000 people and invests nearly $10 billion a year on research and

     Recognizing the extraordinary promise and benefits of this enterprise,
my Administration has pursued policies to foster biotechnology innovations
as expeditiously and prudently as possible.  We have supported steady
increases in funding for basic scientific research at the National
Institutes of Health and other science agencies; accelerated the process
for approving new medicines to make them available as quickly and safely as
possible; encouraged private-sector research investment and small business
development through tax incentives and the Small Business Innovation
Research program; promoted intellectual property protection and open
international markets for biotechnology inventions and products; and
developed public databases that enable scientists to coordinate their
efforts in an enterprise that has become one of the world's finest examples
of partnership among university-based researchers, government, and private

     Remarkable as its achievements have been, the biotechnology enterprise
is still in its infancy.  We will reap even greater benefits as long as we
sustain the intellectual partnership and public confidence that have moved
biotechnology forward thus far.  We must strengthen our efforts to improve
science education for all Americans and preserve and promote the freedom of
scientific inquiry.  We must protect patients from the misuse or abuse of
sensitive medical information and provide Federal regulatory agencies with
sufficient resources to maintain sound, science-based review and regulation
of biotechnology products.  And we must strive to ensure that science-based
regulatory programs worldwide promote public safety, earn public
confidence, and guarantee fair and open international markets.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2000 as National
Biotechnology Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to
observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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