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AMA News Room

April 15, 2013

AMA: Put an End to Human Gene Patents

For immediate release:
April 15, 2013

Statetment attributable to:
Jeremy Lazarus, MD
President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association urges the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent irreparable harm to patient care by upholding the legal limits on human gene patents.

“In support of this position, the AMA joined with other health care organizations to file an amicus brief in defense of the federal court ruling that invalidated patents held by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes consistent with the law.

“Human genes are products of nature and not patent eligible. Isolating a genetic sequence from human DNA does not make it any more patentable than removing a mineral from the surrounding rock.

“Exclusive patent rights over human genes conflict with long-standing principles of medical ethics regarding the sharing of natural scientific information to further advance science, technology and medical care.

“Medical innovations that provide insight into natural human biology must remain freely accessible and widely disseminated, not hidden behind a vast thicket of exclusive rights. Blocking this information interferes with diagnosis and treatment of patients and inhibits new medical discoveries.

“The care available to patients should not be restricted because the naturally occurring building blocks of human biology have been inappropriately patented. Opportunities for scientific research and medical care based on human genes must remain available to all and exclusive to none.”

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Contact:

Robert J. Mills
American Medical Association
(312) 464-5970

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