Original Paper

Transgenic Research

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 147-161

First online:

Pharma-Planta: road testing the developing regulatory guidelines for plant-made pharmaceuticals

  • Penelope Amelia Claire SparrowAffiliated withJohn Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park Email author 
  • , Judith  A. IrwinAffiliated withJohn Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park
  • , Phil J. DaleAffiliated withEmeritus Fellow, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park
  • , Richard M. TwymanAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of York
  • , Julian K. C. MaAffiliated withSt George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London

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Significant advances over the last few years have seen plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) move from the exploratory research phase towards clinical trials, with the first commercial products for human use expected to reach the market by 2009. Europe has yet to witness the commercial application of PMP technology, although at least one product has begun phase II clinical trials with others following close behind. These emerging products are set to challenge the complex and overlapping regulations that currently govern GM plants and ‘conventional’ pharmaceutical production. The areas of responsibility are being mapped out between the different EU regulatory agencies, with specific guidelines currently being drawn up for the regulation of PMPs. This article discusses issues surrounding the development of robust risk-assessment and risk-management practices based on health and environmental impact, while working with EU regulatory authorities to ensure appropriate regulatory oversight.


Pharma-Planta PMP Plant made pharmaceuticals Biosafety Regulations