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US patent decision: need new law here

US patent decision: need new law here

The US Supreme Court decision that companies may not hold patents over the human genome is a boost to women at risk of breast cancer in Australia, CLA says. A local law to ‘mirror’ the decision here should be known as the Parke-Heffernan Act, to honour the two principled Labor and Liberal Australian politicians who have campaigned for one.

Civil Liberties Australia welcomes US ruling on breast cancer test

The US Supreme Court ruling that companies may not patent the human genome is a major breatkthrough for women at risk of breast cancer in the USA and Australia, Civil Liberties Australia said today.

The case was fought over Myriad’s patent over the BRCA breast cancer genes – the same genes involved in Angelina Jolie’s recent decision to remove both of her breasts.

“This decisions means that companies can no longer privatise our DNA and drive up the price of life-saving breast cancer screening. Because of this decision many more women will find out early whether they are at serious risk,” CLA’s vice-president and national media spokesperson, Tim Vines, said.

“The US Supreme Court ruling should guide future law in Australia. CLA has joined with Labor’s Melissa Parke and the Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan to ask federal parliament to enact a law in Australia which has the same effect as the new ruling.

“We expect now that the Australian Parliament will move quickly to pass a new law which mirrors the patent situation in Australia with that now applying in the US. Australian women shouldn’t be at a disadvantage when it comes to detecting breast cancer, ” Mr Vines said.

CLA’s president, Dr Kristine Klugman, said the two Australian politicians deserve high praise.

“We would like to congratulate Ms Parke and Mr Heffernan for their outstanding leadership on this issue. They have stood up for the little guy – or, in this case, woman mostly – against the might of the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying, she said.

“It is a most welcome development, against a trend in recent times, that two highly-principled politicians on either side of mainstream Australian politics have stood together for what’s right, rather than what’s expedient.

“Civil Liberties Australia believes any new Bill in Australia giving similar effect to the US Supreme Court ruling should be known as the Parke-Heffernan Act.,” Dr Klugman said.

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