Is the patenting of human genes wrong? (follow up to the ‘Sweet’ judicial decision on the Myriad patents)

A case against Gene Patents
J. Stiglitz and J. Sulston
April 16, 2010
The Wall Street Journal


“Genetic sequences are naturally occurring things, not inventions. No company should be allowed to monopolize research on them.”

“Patents such as those in this case not only prevent the use of knowledge in ways that would most benefit society, they may even impede scientific progress…”

Stiglitz suggests that a ‘portfolio’ of incentives/disincentives may be the best we can do. But once this portfolio includes patents, pharma can readily use this market power to distort the portfolio choice in its favor. According to Mark Thoma’s take on the Stiglitz and Sulston article, the portfolio approach requires “countervailing power”, power that appears to be sadly lacking. Thoma remains skeptical: “Unchecked, the portfolio approach would likely end up looking much like the system we already have, so it’s not clear to me that this is the answer.”…:+EconomistsView+(Economist’s+View+(EconomistsView))&utm_content=Google+International

What do you think?

Image: Close-up for the “Segmented” Invisible College – BRCA1 & BRCA2 Gene Researchers. Highlighted square nodes are the inventors on at least one BRCA1 or BRCA2 patent assigned to Myriad Genetics…