Gene Patents Delay Research, Affect Every Patient

April 30, 2013 | Crandall & Pera Law
Gene Patents Delay Research, Affect Every Patient

A potential decision made by the US Supreme Court on a current case regarding patenting human genes could affect the health and lives of every American.

Myriad Genetics currently controls the patents on variations of two human genes - BRCA1 and BRCA2 - whose mutations provide a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. With their exclusive rights, all BRCA tests are conducted by Myriad, meaning the company can set its own price free of competition and provides no opportunity for a second opinion. Genetic testing for breast cancer can cost up to $3,500.

Any data gleaned from the test results, such as geographic and demographic patterns, or new genetic variants are also kept by Myriad and not shared publicly. This could prove to be a deterrent to doctors being able to order the sequence of each person's genome to look for disease-related gene variations, which scientists say will be coming soon.

A Supreme Court decision will not just decide the fate of breast and ovarian cancer research, but healthcare as a whole. Who will conduct your medical tests, how those tests are interpreted, how and how fast drugs can be developed, and what your doctor can tell you about your health are just some of the issues attached to the decision.

"The care available to patients should not be restricted because the naturally occurring building blocks of human biology have been inappropriately patented," said Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association. "Opportunities for scientific research and medical care based on human genes must remain available to all and exclusive to none." Read the full details here:

Supreme Court gene patent decision could affect every patient

The intersection of advanced medical research and business patents have negative effects on curative research of any kind. Should a cure for cancer or other diagnoses really be held up by patent arguments?

If you or a family member believe you have a medical malpractice case, contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free case evaluation. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.