Patented genes were never a good idea raising the cost of healthcare. Today, the supreme court agreed.
A while ago, we reported that the patent office was allowing companies to patent human genes. 60 minutes did a report on this months ago which made us aware of these activities (see it here).
Patenting genes has made tests such as the one for Brac 1 and 2 cost over $3000 dollars, when it should cost about $500 if other labs were allowed to carry out these tests. There is quite enough profiteering in healthcare and we certainly need more. Patenting genes also gets in the way of research and is an obstruction.
Today, the NY Times reported that the Supreme Court has upheld the idea that human genes cannot be patented. Check it out here
Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patented
WASHINGTON — Isolated human genes may not be patented, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday. The case concerned patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah company, on genes that correlate with increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
The patents were challenged by scientists and doctors who said their research and ability to help patientshad been frustrated. The particular genes at issue received public attention after the actress Angelina Jolierevealed in May that she had had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she had inherited a faulty copy of a gene that put her at high risk for breast cancer.
The price of the test, often more than $3,000, was partly a product of Myriad’s patent, putting it out of reach for some women. The company filed patent infringement suits against others who conducted testing based on the gene. The price of the test “should come down significantly,” said Dr. Harry Ostrer, one of the plaintiffs in the case decided Thursday. The ruling, he said, “will have an immediate impact on people’s health.”
read more here