Do Patents Impede the Provision of Genetic Tests in Australia?

37 Australian Health Review 281, 2013

5 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2014

See all articles by Dianne Nicol

Dianne Nicol

University of Tasmania

John Liddicoat

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; University of Tasmania

Date Written: May 24, 2013

Abstract

Objective: Health policy and law reform agencies lack a sound evidence base of the impacts of patents on innovation and access to healthcare to assist them in their deliberations. This paper reports the results of a survey of managers of Australian genetic testing laboratories that asked a series of questions relating to the tests they perform, whether they pay to access patented inventions and whether they have received notifications from patent holders about patents associated with particular tests.

Results: Some diagnostics facilities are exposed to patent costs, but they are all located in the private sector. No public hospitals reported paying license fees or royalties beyond those included in the price of commercial test kits. Some respondents reported having received enforcement notices from patent holders, but almost all related to the widely known breast cancer-associated patents. Respondents were also asked for their views on the most effective mechanisms to protect their ability to provide genetic tests now and in the future. Going to the media, paying license fees, ignoring patent rights and relying on the government to take action were widely seen as most effective. Litigation and applications for compulsory licenses were seen as some of the least effective mechanisms.

Conclusion: These results provide an evidence base for development of health policy and law reform.

Suggested Citation

Nicol, Dianne and Liddicoat, Johnathon, Do Patents Impede the Provision of Genetic Tests in Australia? (May 24, 2013). 37 Australian Health Review 281, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2508966

Dianne Nicol

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Johnathon Liddicoat (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Australia

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