Entries in Patents (2)


Court Rules in Favor of Patents on Human Genes

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of companies patenting isolated human genes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that ruled Myriad Genetics could not patent human genes in an effort to help predict if women have an increased risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, according to The New York Times.

In the court's ruling, it cited the difference between DNA isolated from the body and DNA that lives inside the body's chromosomes in determining a company's right to patent genes. The court's decision rested on the notion that DNA isolated from the body was "markedly different" from the genes inside chromosomes because the isolated DNA is not a product of nature.

The 2-to-1 decision also ruled against Myriad for its gene mutation screening methods because it only involved “patent-ineligible abstract mental steps.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lipitor Among Top Drugs Coming Off Patent by Year's End

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- There could soon be some good news for consumers weary of soaring health care costs: The patents for several best-selling medications will expire this year, clearing the path for lower-cost generics to take their place.

According to IBIS World, an industry research firm, some of the blockbuster drugs whose patents expire this year are the cholesterol buster Lipitor, the antipsychotic Zyprexa, the antibiotic Levaquin, Concerta, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and Protonix, an antacid.  Together, these drugs brought in more than $10 billion in sales in 2010.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, managed to hold off competition until later this year.  Ranbaxy, an India-based pharmaceutical company, agreed to delay the release of its generic version of Lipitor until Nov. 30.  According to its website, Ranbaxy will have the exclusive right to sell its drug in the U.S. for six months.

Experts say when generic versions of these drugs make it to market, pharmaceutical companies could face billions in potential losses, while consumers could save tens of billions of dollars a year.

"Studies suggest that the average cost of generics is 71 percent less than the cost of brand-name drugs," said James Zhang, associate professor and director of the Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy Research Program at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Pharmacy in Richmond, Virgnia.  "Studies also suggest that generic drug use accounts for 63 percent of drug use."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio