EUROPA DONNA statement on gene patenting (Genomics)

The members of EUROPA DONNA, the European Breast Cancer Coalition, fully share the conviction that legislative action by the European Parliament is necessary to ensure that human genes, gene sequences and any discoveries on human genetic variation should be placed outside the scope of patentability. The threat that research, policy and clinical decisions could be based upon models of functional genomics is real and present. The potential for discrimination in the pursuit of novel therapeutics and the provision of treatment options, employment opportunities and health assistance for persons with known genetic susceptibility for disease would rapidly become reality for all persons.

The knowledge from discoveries on the human genome should not be transformed into a commercial commodity. No single person or entity has proprietary rights over the richly diverse code that is crucial to the physical, emotional and intellectual development of every human being. Intense and far-reaching studies in genetics, genomics and proteomics are crucial for advancing scientific knowledge and its applications in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. Essential to these processes is the guarantee that discoveries on the human genome are valued as public knowledge and not private invention.

We call upon the European Parliament to fulfill its pledge in protecting and providing for the well-being of all its citizens by establishing a ban on patents on the human genome.

EUROPA DONNA – The European Breast Cancer Coalition October 19, 2001