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AMA, others file court brief against gene patenting

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 27, 2010

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The American Medical Association and other medical organizations have filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief opposing the patenting of human genes.

The argument comes in response to The Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics Inc., in which Myriad is appealing a decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in New York that gene patents are invalid. The case is on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

In the brief, the medical organizations urge the Court of Appeals to affirm the district court's decision. They argue that patents on gene sequences harm the practice of medicine and the pursuit of science and "interfere with diagnosis and treatment, quality assurance, access to health care, and scientific and medical innovation."

At its Annual Meeting in June, the AMA House of Delegates adopted policy opposing the patenting of human genes and related naturally occurring mutations. The policy says patents that already have been issued should be licensed to allow broad access by physicians and patients.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/12/27/gvbf1227.htm.

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