Susan Finston is a biotechnology company consultant and the founder and principal of Finston Consulting. She is also involved with BayhDole25, a non-profit organization "created to study the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act of 1980" -- which gave universities and nonprofit institutions control of the inventions that arise from research supported by federal funding -- "as well as similar U.S. and international technology transfer legislation and related issues," according to its own website.
In July 2012, Finston wrote an op-ed for McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, a wire service, that got published in newspapers like the Arizona Daily Sun. The article, "Labels too costly, unneeded," claimed that "[r]equiring the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods . . . is a solution in search of a problem" and that "[a]dvocates of GM labeling cling to the naive fiction that genetically modified foods are foreign and untested -- unnatural products of wild-eyed scientists. The reality is that most of what we eat has been scientifically improved in some way." She concluded, "It would be far better policy for companies to label the minority of products that appeal to anti-GM consumers than to try to implement mandatory GM labeling." The article disclosed that she is "a former executive director of the American BioIndustry Alliance" and listed her contact information at her consulting firm, Finston Consulting. But her industry connections run far deeper than that:
In December 2005, Philip Shenon wrote in the New York Times that "Susan Finston of the Institute for Policy Innovation, a conservative research group based in Texas, is just the sort of opinion maker coveted by the drug industry. In an opinion article in The Financial Times on Oct. 25, she called for patent protection in poor countries for drugs and biotechnology products. In an article last month in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, she called for efforts to block developing nations from violating patents on AIDS medicines and other drugs. Both articles identified her as a 'research associate' at the institute. Neither mentioned that, as recently as August, Ms. Finston was registered as a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry's trade group. Nor was there mention of her work this fall in creating the American Bioindustry Alliance, a group underwritten largely by drug companies."
In 2008, Finston co-founded Amrita Therapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology start-up company, with Dr. Ananda M. Chakrabarty in Gujarat, India. She was the founding executive director of the American BioIndustry Alliance (dba ABSA) from 2005 to 2009. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation in at least 2005 and an Adjunct Fellow at IPI in 2008.
Finston was an associate vice president for intellectual property, Middle East/Africa and South Asian Affairs -- and a registered lobbyist -- for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) from 2000 to 2005. From 1986 through 1999, Susan worked for the U.S. Government, including 11 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, with assignments in London, Tel Aviv and Manila. She served in the judicial branch of the U.S. Government for two years as a Motions Clerk at the federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
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- Philip Shenon, "On Opinion Page, Lobby's Hand Is Often Unseen", New York Times', December 23, 2005.
- Institute for Policy Innovation, "IPI Statements on Think Tank Involvement with Registered Lobbyists Who Publish Op/Eds", Media Release, December 23, 2005, archived by the Wayback Machine on June 14, 2006.
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Genetic engineering
- Genetically modified organisms
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
- Finston Consulting, About, firm website, accessed July 2012
- BayhDole25, About, organizational website, accessed July 2012
- Susan K. Finston, Labels too costly, unneeded, Arizona Daily Sun, July 1, 2012
- Philip Shenon, On Opinion Page, a Lobby's Hand Is Often Unseen, New York Times, December 23, 2005
- Tom Giovanetti, Institute for Policy Innovation, IPI Statement on Relationship with Mrs. Susan K. Finston, organizational press release, December 21, 2005, accessed via the Wayback Machine July 2012
- Institute for Policy Innovation, Trade and the Race for the White House - Exploring the Candidates' Positions, organizational event announcement, March 27, 2008, accessed via the Wayback Machine July 2012