Profiteering in the Gene Market

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Science

Myriad Genetics performed genetic testing that isolated the gene that could cause cancer In Angelina Jolie’s body. Yesterday, Angelina Jolie announced to the world that she had a double breast mastectomy due to the gene Myriad discovered in her body that could cause to develop in her breast and ovaries. I think that it’s great that she was able to afford the research and testing to isolate the gene that could ultimately end her life: she is fortunate.

However, there is great controversy over the testing performed by Myriad Genetics. Other researchers claim that Myriad is monopolizing the gene market and trying to collect genes of every one of us; the other debate is that Myriad is keeping a “Black Box” on gene patents in order to be the main profiteer, but the biggest concern is that Myriad does not allow their research to be debated, challenged in the scientific community. What this means is that if a patient undergoes Myriad’s gene testing, they are not able to secure a second opinion on Myriad’s findings from another doctor because they do not allow any other researchers to validate their testing results. It’s not in the best interest of the public for Myriad to monopolize research that could potentially save many more lives.

Angelina Jolie underwent a drastic procedure in order to prevent cancer. Of course, it’s her choice to have the procedure performed but without a second opinion, that is risky. I, personally, would not undergo such a drastic procedure without getting a second opinion. We are told to get a second opinion when it comes to life-altering decisions and this procedure would not be any different for me. I just hope that people do not look at what Angelina Jolie did to save herself and think that it’s okay for them to undergo drastic changes without a second opinion.


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