2013/05: Should private companies be able to patent human genes?
Introduction to the media issueVideo clip at right:
In February, 2013, ABC News ran a report giving information about the case about to be heard in the Australian Federal Court involving Cancer Voices challenge to Myriad Genetics’ gene patents. Please note that the date given beneath this video should read 2013, not 2012, as that news report was uploaded to YouTube some days after the report had been televised..
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What they said...
'Health economic studies conclude that Myriad's genetic tests are fairly priced'
Myriad Genetics Inc
'As a matter of principle, patents on naturally-occurring genes should not have been approved'
Editorial from Incite, the online magazine of the Cancer Institute of New South Wales
The issue at a glance
On February 15, 2013, an anti-cancer support group, Cancer Voices, lost a case before the Australian Federal Court.
Cancer Voices had brought a case against Myriad Genetics Inc, which owns patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
Cancer Voices argued that Myriad Genetics Inc had claimed an unfair monopoly on naturally occurring genes and that the company's patents were likely to impede the use of these genes in cancer research.
Justice John Nicholas ruled in favour of Myriad Genetics Inc, upholding the company's patents.
On March 4, 2013, the law firm Maurice Blackburn lodged documents to appeal Justice Nicholas's decision.
Cancer Voices Australia has already launched a petition asking the government to change patenting laws.