What is the greatest hazard in the Myriad/Ontario situation?
The greatest hazard in the situation of Myriad/Ontario is that if gene patenting is allowed it would finally result in stunning of research in the field of biotechnology and cause extreme loss to the consumers. Only the shareholders of the company could benefit from such a situation. As it is well known, genes are the building blocks of any organism and its isolation or characterization could not be regarded as an innovation. It is a discovery and based on this discovery the research could develop different methodologies or processes for various purposes and in this case, for the early detection of breast cancer.
Although many patents have already been granted for genes (Emhofer, 2003), this would be a tough game for Ontario and they have a strong ground in telling that genes could not be patented based on ethics of science. 2. What is the greatest risk in the Myriad/Ontario situation? The Myriad/Ontario situation is raising a very ethical question whether the genes could be patented or not. There are many Biotech companies who have patented genes and this has resulted in not giving opportunity for researchers outside their company to work in that. So if the court decides that genes couldn’t be patented, these companies may lose a lot of business.
So this case involves a risk for all the biotech companies who have patented genes. An important thing to be borne in mind here is that the most important motive of the patent agencies is to encourage competitive innovation. If a patent is closing opportunities for other companies to work on it, this aim would not be fulfilled. The research should be there to develop technologies that could reduce the process costs and ultimately benefits the end users. So there is ample scope of research in this line for the different biotech companies and those, which come forward with the best technology, would be the pioneers in the business.
Since Myriad is having all the knowledge and technologies associated with the genes, it would be difficult to overcome them by any other company, even if there is a law against gene patenting is enforced. It would be better if there is some restrictions in human gene patenting (Gold, 2002). The European patent office that has already granted many patents for genes now feels that such patents would not be of public interest and would not foster public health and future innovations (Cassier, 2004) Yet another factor that needs to be considered here is the cost of the tests. Myriad is charging 2000$ to $3000 for a test.
They also want each and every sample to be sent to them for testing, which would be difficult for people in other countries. So the patent that prevents researchers in other country to work on the said gene would be against public interest. Ontario Company is offering their test for breast cancer and it is costing only one third of the test in Myriad. Women with a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in Canada would be prevented from testing for cancer in their country when they have cheap technology to do the same. So there is every chance that Myriad would lose if a case is charged in this regard.
It would be better if Myriad could concentrate more on developing cheap technologies to test the different cancers, so that they could compete with close competitors. It is highly necessary to publish the knowledge they have gained about these genes so that other researchers could use that for better benefits of women in different countries (The patenting of BRCA 1 and 2 genes, 2008). References Cassier, M. (2004). Patents and public health: European opposition to the Myriad breast cancer patent. http://www. epip. eu/papers/20041001/paris/papers/MCassier. pdf (Accessed on 11/2/2009) Emhoefer, K. (2003).
Ownership of genes at stake in potential lawsuit http://www. csmonitor. com/2003/0227/p07s03-woam. html (Accessed on 11/2/2009) Gold, E. R. (2002). Human Gene Patents: Recent Developments http://strategis. ic. gc. ca/eic/site/cbac-cccb. nsf/eng/ah00508. html (Accessed on 11/2/2009) Myriad (2009) http://www. myriad. com/products/bracanalysis. php (Accessed on 11/2/2009) The patenting of BRCA 1 and 2 genes, (2008). http://www. cancer. ca/Canada-wide/How%20you%20could%20help/Take%20action/Advocacy%20what%20were%20doing/Gene%20patenting/Breast%20cancer%20genes. aspx? sc_lang=en (Accessed on 11/2/2009)Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org