by Samantha Ritchie US Corporation Myriad has patented the test which detects if you have gene mutations which increase your chances of breast and ovarian cancer. According to statistics the amount of women who develop breast cancer is around 12 percen …

Samantha Ritchie

by Samantha Ritchie

US Corporation Myriad has patented the test which detects if you have gene mutations which increase your chances of breast and ovarian cancer.

According to statistics the amount of women who develop breast cancer is around 12 percent (120 out of 1,000), and this is compared with about 60 percent of women (600 out of 1,000) who have inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. The test which shows gene mutations is called the BRCA analysis.

The law highlights that no one can get a patent on something which is a part of nature. “Laws of nature, natural phenomena, and naturally-occurring products are not patentable.” However, the corporation, Myriad, argues that because they remove the genes from your body they become patentable. You cannot patent water because you remove it from the sea – a gene is still a gene regardless if its in your body or not!

Each time you go for a test to find out if you have this mutated gene, you must pay around $4000. If this test wasn’t patented the test would cost around $100. The cost to someone who cannot afford health insurance is substantial. Moreover, as Myriad has patented this test there is no competition they can set their own rate.

Recently, Angelia Jolie had this test and she discussed in an interview her experience of having a mastectomy. After the story broke, the price in the volume of the shares was more than double the three-month daily average of 1.1 million shares.

Myriad Twitter over Angelina

Myriad Twitter over Angelina

 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the Public Patent Foundation, in 2009, filed a lawsuit which related to seven patents on the two human genes held by Myriad. In 2009, the US Supreme court ruled in favour of the ACLU but, on two occasions the appeals court has reversed this decision by ruling in favour of Myriad.

Please check out and support the ACLU’s blog and campaign against this corporation.


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Samantha Ritchie