By Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director
It’s outrageous that corporations are allowed to own human genes.
We recently testified at a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hearing on gene patenting. Of the nine people who testified, we were the only ones who explained how gene patenting harms women’s health. We were the only people in the room voicing women’s opposition, on an issue that harms women’s health. There’s something wrong with that picture.
The USPTO held the hearing because they’re preparing a report for Congress about gene patenting, and without your input, the report will be one-sided. They need to hear from you.
Myriad Genetics holds exclusive rights to the “breast cancer genes,” BRCA1 and 2, the mutations on those genes, and all research performed on them. We all have these genes in our bodies, whether or not they have mutations, which means Myriad owns my genes and your genes. Gene patents, and the resulting monopoly over your health, have a very real negative impact:
- High cost for the genetic test (over $3,000). Women often cannot afford to get information about their own bodies.
- Indeterminate test results. As many as 10% of people tested may have an ambiguous test result, a disproportionate number of whom are women of color.
- No second opinion testing. Even if test results seem clear, women cannot get second opinion testing before making decisions about life-altering surgery to remove their breasts and ovaries.
- Limits research. We urgently need more and better options for the treatment and risk reduction of breast cancer.
Tell the real story about gene patents so women’s health isn’t left out of the picture.
We are proud to be a plaintiff in the case against Myriad’s patents, currently pending review from the Supreme Court. With your support, we will continue to oppose corporate control over our bodies, our genes, and our health.