Sunday, April 04, 2010

"60 Minutes" does Patented on April 4 [Myriad]

CBS has the transcript of the story "Patented" broadcast on April 4, 2010, which discussed the BRCA patents of Myriad. The following are rough notes taken during the broadcast.

The gene is property of the biotech company. So far, 10,000 genes have been patented. A vital part of who you are belongs to someone else. Morley Safer reports.

A positive test result means the removal of ovaries is suggested. One woman noted: My insurance pays for the test, but the lab won't accept this insurance (because it won't pay the full amount.) Myriad is the only game in town. They own the genes, lock stock and barrel. It's Myriad or nothing.

She sought a second opinion. Human error that exists in laboratories. Whether you like it or not, Myriad owns the gene.

Professor Lori Andrews of Chicago Kent was interviewed by Safer.

It all started in 1980 [with the Chakrabarty case]. Nearly 10,000 have been patented. The University of Pennsylvania received a cease and desist order from Myriad.

In most of Europe and Canada, the test costs a fraction of the 3200. Andrews says $300.

Dr. Aubrey Melansky, BU center for Genetics [Dr. Aubrey Milunsky, a world renowned geneticist, knows that first hand. He is the head of Boston University's Center for Human Genetics. ]. We have been stopped from offering 13 different tests. I am legally muzzled.
Athena Labs sent cease and desist. How can anyone allow patenting of a gene? Lawyers say you shouldn't be testing it.

Kevin Noonan of PatentDocs appeared on 60 Minutes and noted that patents reward financial risk.

Far cry from the days of Jonas Salk. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? Get investment back. Last of Myriad's patent expires in 2018.

60 Minutes switched to Chris Hansen. Unconstitutional. The USPTO says Isolating and purifying is so transformative it is patentable.

Hard to believe gene is essentially property of a corporation.

The story ended with some text about the SDNY decision. Of that decision, see IPBiz post
Myriad loses!


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