Cancer Treatment:

Actions Taken to More Fully Utilize the Bark of Pacific Yews on Federal Land

RCED-92-231: Published: Aug 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the utilization of Pacific yew bark, the source of the anticancer drug taxol, focusing on: (1) the collection of Pacific yew bark from federal lands in fiscal year (FY) 1991; and (2) the steps taken by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service to ensure greater utilization of Pacific yew bark in FY 1992.

GAO found that: (1) neither BLM nor the Service collected usable Pacific yew bark in FY 1991 primarily because of sawmill timber harvesting, failure to collect usable bark from branches and stems of smaller diameter, trees scattered throughout wide geographical areas, and taxol content deterioration; (2) both BLM and the Forest Service have revised their Pacific yew program plans and associated operations procedures for FY 1992 to ensure more complete utilization of yew bark; and (3) to increase utilization of yew bark, BLM and the Forest Service have required bark collectors to return to previously harvested sites to recover bark that was left, established collection priorities requiring the collection of yew bark before timber harvesting activities, and required agency field managers to review bark collectors' compliance with the utilization standards.