LORI AND MICHAEL CRICHTON AT WHO OWNS YOUR BODY CONFERENCE
At the conference, speakers pointed out how patents on human genes are interfering with research and with patients’ access to health care. The participants urged that people write to Members of Congress and Senators to urge them to pass H.R. 977 to ban gene patents. Michael Crichton argued gene patents may have looked practical 20 years ago, but the field has changed so much since then that gene patents are "unnecessary, unwise, and harmful." For more information, see www.whoownsyourbody.org.
|| Lori and Michael Crichton
Also at the conference, former California Supreme Court Justice Armand Arabian provided evidence of recent thefts of body parts from research institutions and mortuaries and Michele Goodwin showed how current law does not protect the unwitting recipients of diseased tissue. In the research realm, Goodwin suggested that people should have a right to sue when researchers use a person’s tissue without his or her consent. Tim Caulfield detailed the problems caused by the endemic commercialization of the research environment, now that university researchers using taxpayer money can actually personally profit by patenting their findings. Debra Harry spoke about indigenous peoples are being mined by researchers attempting to discover genes in their tissue. Seth Shulman said that allowing patents on biological facts or products of nature "chokes" productivity and "erodes our democratic institutions." Stephen Hilgartner said decisions about intellectual property issues should not just be measured by whether they reward innovation, but by whether they foster accountability, governance and control. According to Hilgartner, intellectual property rights—like other property rights—need to give way at times to the public good. John Conley showed how courts could overturn gene patents based on the longstanding legal precedents that people should be able to patent products of nature.
Who Owns Your Body? Lori explains how courts and legislatures are answering that question.
Michael Crichton discusses his work and its implications for legal policy.
Michael Crichton and Lori with forensic expert Bob Gaensslen
All content © 2006-08 by Lori Andrews.