New bills sound alarms on foreign adversaries and medical diagnostics

Washington Dc Capitol Social

Legislators wary of certain foreign biotech companies have introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would ban federal contracts and funding mechanisms to companies with ties to foreign adversaries.

The legislation would fast-track ban genomics company [Beijing Genomics Institute] BGI Group (BGI) and its subsidiaries MGI, Complete Genomics, and WuXi Apptee, as well as their parent affiliates and successors, according to a January 25 statement issued from the Select Committee on the CCP.

"Chinese-based biotechnology companies are collecting genetic and sensitive health data from millions of people around the world through medical diagnostics tests to give China the upper hand," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said in his announcement of the Prohibiting Foreign Access to American Genetic Information Act of 2024.

Sen. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) said that the legislation not only establishes a framework but closes a loophole that has allowed subsidizing biotech companies of foreign adversaries, such as BGI.

"In recent years, the People's Republic of China has pursued a strategy known as 'military-civil fusion' that merges public and private industries to enable the military modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)," states the proposed Biosecure Act. The act noted that the U.S. Department of Defense has added BGI to its list of People's Republic of China military companies.

The legislation also calls out a range of biotechnology equipment, including genetic sequencers; mass spectrometers; polymerase chain reaction machines; or any other instrument, apparatus, machine, device, components, and accessories. In addition, software, firmware, or other digital components and services are included under the umbrella term of biotechnology equipment and services in the bill.

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