Gene Patents and Right to Health

Gene Patents and Right to Health

Volume 3 Issue 3 ()

Genes hold the blueprint of the human body. Since genetic code contains all the necessary information for the continued physiological functions of the organism, patent over a gene can potentially determine all the downstream inventions. In light of genes modified with significant human intervention being considered a valid patentable subject matter under the Patents Act, 1970, this article explores the conflicts between gene patents and the right to health at four different levels, viz., availability, accessibility, quality & acceptability of better healthcare. The propensity to infringe right to health calls for a prudent and vigilant approach. The relevant provisions of Patents Act, 1970 and Competition Act, 2002 may help in this endeavor. The best solution, however, is to expressly exclude genes from patentable subject matter under the Patents Act invoking the rationale in the recent Myriad judgment

Cite as: Mathews P. George & Akanksha Kaushik, Gene Patents and Right to Health, 3 NUJS L. Rev. 323 (2010)