from the yikes dept
Over the summer, we wrote about an important lawsuit under appeal at the Federal Circuit, Prometheus Laboratories v. Mayo Collaborative Services, which looked at whether or not basic medical tests could be patented — in this case, a method of calibrating medicine dosages based on a patient’s metabolic response. Doctors were pretty freaked out by this idea that you could patent a method that seemed like basic science. While a lower court agreed, the appeals court has gone the other way and said that the method is patentable. The patent holders insisted that this patent was necessary because if it didn’t get the patent it “would likely have a chilling effect on future medical discovery.” That, of course, is ridiculous. The idea that you need a patent on basic diagnostic procedures to have people come up with them is ridiculous. Some think that there’s a decent chance the Supreme Court will take up this case as well, but until then, we’ve got yet another case of patents being used to actively put lives at risk by telling doctors they can’t do basic diagnostic procedures without paying up.