Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"The Price of Genetic Technology"

I had switched over to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) last night to the Four Corners report by Andrew Fowler. It was entitled 'Body Corporate'. This particular program was about Gene Technology and the patent system. I was completely stunned by what I was viewing.

Miriad, a large corporation in America had patent the BRN1 gene for the detection of breast cancer, and therefore, have the monopoly and the rights to charge whatever they seem fit for the very crucial testing procedures.

Unable to comprehend the arrogance and clear disregard for human existence and the health of women (around the world), it seems to me that corporate ideals outweigh that of morality and decency.

It was clear from the minute the story aired that Miriad has only one objective. 'Money is the root of all evil' and it seems greed over rides any commonsense.

Women around the world are being held for ransom, with the test costing from $2000 US each, it is impossible for the majority of breast cancer sufferers to afford clarity. I am appalled at the conduct of Miriad and most of all the governments for allowing a company to patent a human gene. It is clear that they need to tweak their priorities.

Australia has many options for testing here, but we are unable to conduct these very important tests, because Miriad continues to block anyone's attempt or asks enormous fees for the privilege.

It is crucial that for women with direct family links to breast cancer get this vital test. In 2010 I do not understand why women still cannot be the directors of their own health. Although the medical profession eludes that women have the power to their own well-being, it is clear that big business has the power.

Again we are back to the same old story, women are still fighting for the right to their own bodies and to affordable treatment. If you are unable to afford specialized tests and medical aid, there is no hope for early detection. It comes down to the rich verses the poor!

It is truly a serious road in which we find technology heading. If you have ever seen the film 'Gattaca' (although fictitious), it is so close to reality.
Just think about how many women around the world who are diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer every year. How many of them cannot afford these vital tests?

The BRN1 test allows women the right to decide what is best for them. How they will afford these tests should not be something they need to worry about, when the prospect of death is looming.

We have lost what humanity is all about. The medical profession and the technology companies have forgotten what it was they set out to achieve. We are privileged to be the smartest species on Earth, but we are a detriment to our own existence.

Greed should not prevail!

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