segunda-feira, 27 de novembro de 2006

Problemas das patentes

(para além dos expectáveis com qualquer monopólio legislativo. Via Misesblog.)

How Gene Patents Are Putting Your Health at Risk

A fifth of your genes belong to someone else. That’s because the U.S. Patent Office has given various labs, companies and universities the rights to 20% of the genes found in everyone’s DNA— with some disturbing results. Many U.S. labs won’t perform certain genetic tests because of patent restrictions or fees. One company that holds a license for a gene connected with Alzheimer’s has refused to let other labs work on its gene. The company that “owns” a genetic mutation for breast cancer charges up to $3,000 for a breast-cancer gene test. These alarming facts provided the background for Michael Crichton’s latest novel, Next, in bookstores this week.

“Major hepatitis C and HIV genes and various diabetes genes are all owned,” Crichton, an M.D., tells us. “Researchers working on those diseases must worry about getting permission and paying high fees.” During the SARS epidemic, he says, some researchers hesitated to study the virus because three groups claimed to own its genome. “It’s OK to own a treatment or test for a disease, but no one should own a disease,” he insists

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