Saturday, March 22, 2014

Please take a nanosecond to feel sorry for Myriad Genetics

They have become lawsuit happy. The Supreme court has said no company can hold the patent to a gene last summer. This means that Myriad Genetics has lost their monopoly, huge prices, and ability to strong arm the breast cancer population with their patent on the BRCA genes Okay that nanosecond is now long over.

Now we can get on the road to reality. Myriad has decided that since they have lost their patent, their lawyers are going to get rich. They are in the "let's sue so we can keep our monopoly as long as possible".

"Last week's ruling by Judge Shelby is perfectly clear about all that is at stake for Myriad:
Although Plaintiffs [Myriad Genetics] have shown that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm through erosion of their test pricing structure, loss of their share of the testing market, and loss of their exclusive patent terms if an injunction does not issue ... Plaintiffs are unable to establish that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims.
In other words, Myriad's earnings will undoubtedly take a serious hit from increased competition, but this fact cannot override the substantial doubt about whether they will prevail in their legal claims."

I hate people that are lawsuit happy.

But this underscore additional issues with genetic testing and personalized medicine.

"Not only have the courts pushed back on Myriad's monopoly, at the end of 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved to stop the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe from marketing and selling its DNA testing service without approval.

As with all medical drugs and devices we must balance the desire for innovative new treatments with our demands for safety and efficacy. As more labs and companies enter the BRCA testing market, we must ensure that these tests are properly regulated to protect public health and patient interest. Genetic tests claiming to provide medical information must be analytically and clinically validated so we know that what companies are telling customers is in fact accurate. Nor should companies be permitted to overpromise the benefits of genetic testing or to drum up people's fear of disease in order to sell more tests. All genetic testing should be accompanied, both before and after testing, by independent and professional genetic counseling so that potential customers understand the limitations of testing, their individual test results and all of their medical options.

Finally, we should refuse to allow companies to hoard, for their own gain, our medical and bio-data collected through the process of testing. Critics of Myriad have long noted that the company stopped contributing to the primary international database on genetic mutations related to breast cancer, in what is widely seen as a move to further capitalize on their monopoly access to more than a million women's family history and genetic information. Similar critiques have been made that 23andMe is using its customers' bio-data and familial information to launch new business products."

Genetic testing is the new thing. I'm  not ready to turn my DNA over to just anyone. And I would be very upset if they tried to upsell me on additional tests based on what I already have...

But I will follow this story and see where it ends up. But I never felt sorry for Myriad Genetics.

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