The BRCA patents, the Supreme Court and Empowered Healthcare Consumers

SPM member Eve Harris, on her “Healthy Piece of My Mind” blog, has a potent post on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision about the BRCA1 and
BRCA2 patents held by a private company. The patents have restricted patients’ and families’ access to screening tests.

Excerpt:

Although at least 90 percent of the time breast cancer is sporadic, these two mutations alone are believed to cause most hereditary breast cancer. In families suspected of having or already identified as having a mutation, women can choose to take a blood test that reveals significant information about their individual risk. The patents, however, have effectively given Myriad a monopoly in the U.S. on breast and ovarian cancer screening tests since 1994.

A lawsuit filed in 2009 claimed the patents violated patent law, restricting scientific research and patients’ access to medical care. One barrier for patients has been the cost of the test: …

Full text: http://eve-harris.blogspot.com/2012/03/brca-supreme-court-and-empowered.html

(Note: This is *not* related to the Affordable Care Act arguments in the Court this week.)

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