Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What is rBST?

What is recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)?Recombinant bovine growth hormone (also known as rBGH or rBST) is a genetically engineered drug produced by the Monsanto
Corporation. It is injected into dairy cows to induce them to increase milk production, typically by 5-15%. It's estimated that 15-20% of
the cows in the United States are injected with this hormone. It was approved by the FDA in 1993.

Four pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto, American Cyanamid, Eli Lilly, and Upjohn, raced to have commercial rights to rbST. On November 5, 1993, the FDA gave its approval to Monsanto to sell rbST under the name Posilac. Injections of Posilac must be administered in 14-day intervals.(12) Pharmaceutical companies, particularly Monsanto, fully support the sale of rbST. A Monsanto spokeswoman projects that BGH sales will reach $100 million in 1994.

Report on the Food and Drug Administration's Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin

This report was updated on April 23, 2009 to clarify quantities of growth hormone found in milk and those used in the 1989 rat study.

On November 5, 1993, following extensive review of the data to support the safety and effectiveness of the product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) approved the Monsanto Companys New Animal Drug Application for Posilac containing a recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) (also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin, rbST, or Sometribove).

In order to grant approval of Posilac, FDA determined, among other things, that food products from cows treated with rbGH are safe for consumption by humans.

Today, Monsanto announced that Eli Lilly, one of the biggest of the Big Pharma companies, had bought Posilac (brand name for rBGH) for $300 million. AP reports that Monsanto could get additional cash for Posilac down the road, if it turns out to be a winner for Lilly.
And that bit about Posilac's buyer not having Monsanto's deep pockets? Well, Lilly has even deeper pockets than the GMO seed giant. According to Yahoo Finance, Monsanto has annual revenue of $11 billion and cash on hand of $1.75 billion, compared to Lilly's $19.7 billion in annual revenue and $5.2 billion in cash.
Perhaps Lilly hopes to make a killing marketing Posilac in foreign markets. According to AP, Lilly "has been marketing [Posilac] for Monsanto outside the U.S. for 10 years."


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