Pirate Party Australia is outraged that a legal challenge to the BRCA1 gene patent has failed.
“This ruling is a slap in the face for all of those who will suffer or know somebody who will suffer from breast cancer within their lifetime. It is utterly disgraceful that we live in a nation where private companies can own the genetic material within our bodies,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia.
More than two years ago, Pirate Party Australia issued a statement welcoming the legal challenge, with the hope that the case would be a catalyst for laws to expressly forbid patents on genetic materials.
By permitting a patent on BRCA1, discoveries are now effectively given the same protections as inventions. The effect this will have on adequately treating cancer sufferers is abysmal, and also opens the door for hampering future research as private companies secure patents and charge extortionate license fees.
“We are not talking about something trivial such as the so-called ‘patent wars’ between Apple and Samsung: this is the difference between life and death for many cancer patients,” said Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, Deputy Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “It is preposterous that genetic material such as BRCA1 can be counted as an invention. We do not say that ‘Amudsen invented the South Pole.'”
“This case highlights the need for legislative reform to directly exclude genetic material that is not actually manufactured from being patented. Private enterprise should not wield such power over human life as it is currently able to.”
The Pirate Party advocates reform of the patent system and encourages the government to look into alternative means of funding research to promote an increase in valuable public domain knowledge.
Pirate Party Australia will be contesting the 2013 federal election on policies relating primarily to access to information, culture and knowledge, transparency in government and securing personal privacy.