High Test Costs Lead To Hospitals Challenging Human Gene Patents in Canada
In 2013, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that isolated human genes could not be patented. Now Canada is addressing the issue in its own federal courts. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) filed a lawsuit asking Canadian federal court to invalidate patents held by the University of Utah on gene sequences and tests for Long QT syndrome (an inherited cardiac disorder). CHEO cannot become certified to perform the tests themselves because of the existing patents. According to the lawsuit, the hospital argued that, were it not for the patents, it could perform the screenings for approximately half the current cost and diagnose more patients.