Miami Heat: Patent Law, Informed Consent, and Benefit-Sharing
Journal of International Biotechnology Law, Vol. 3, pp. 177-192, 2006
15 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2006 Last revised: 18 Feb 2018
Date Written: 2006
This article considers whether the granting of patents in respect of biomedical genetic research should be conditional upon the informed consent of research participants. It focuses upon several case studies. In Moore v the Regents of the University Of California, a patient sued his physician for breach of fiduciary duty and lack of informed consent, because the doctor had obtained a patent on the patient's cell line, without the patient's authorisation. In Greenberg v Miami Children's Hospital, the research participants, the Greenbergs, the National Tay Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, and Dor Yeshorim brought a legal action against the geneticist Reubon Matalon and the Miami Children's Hospital over a patent obtained on a gene related to the Canavan disease and accompany genetic diagnostic test. PXE International entered into a joint venture with Charles Boyd and the University of Hawaii, and obtained a patent together for 'methods for diagnosing Pseudoxanthoma elasticum'. In light of such case studies, it is contended that there is a need to reform patent law, so as to recognise the bioethical principles of informed consent and benefit-sharing. The 2005 UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights provides a model for future case law and policy-making.
Keywords: Patent Law, Genetic Diagnostic Testing, Research Participants, Informed Consent, Benefit-Sharing, Bioethics, Human Rights
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