Friday, February 17, 2012

Supreme Court Decides Today if they will take the BRCA Patent Case

As Myriad Genetic Laboratories nears its one millionth predictive genetic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, the cost of the test has more than doubled, and the company’s 15-year patent monopoly is being challenged by critics who contend it is stymieing other potentially life-saving screening.

In addition, more than 140 researchers, doctors and clinicians affiliated with the Yale Cancer Center and from institutions all over the country, have written an open letter to Myriad raising concerns that the so-called BRAC Analysis test does not detect “a significant proportion of BRCA1 and BRCA 2 mutations” and therefore is not truly “comprehensive.”

They say an additional analysis, known as BART (BRAC Analysis Rearrangement Test), is necessary, but not always accessible—especially for Hispanics, who show in Myriad testing to be at high risk for the large-rearrangement mutations. The BART test, also licensed by Myriad, costs $700 and is not widely approved for insurance coverage.

“As you know, most insurance companies do not cover the extra BART Analysis and most patients do not have this important testing,” the Yale group wrote. “This means we are missing BRCA mutations in many patients, which is costing lives.” The Yale group said Myriad never responded to the letter.

An excerpt from Click on the above light blue link to be directed to the full article.