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311Re: [TdC] Re: Jerry Weinstein, asthma

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  • Alan S. Drake
    Feb 11, 2002
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      deCode of Iceland (where they have a 1,000 years of
      good genealogy and a population base of over 250,000)
      has traced portions of the population with a genetic
      trait (first step to locating the gene). The latest
      is a propensity to live to the late 90s or 100+.

      They have done so after national debate and with some
      people opting not be involved for reasons of privacy.
      However, the dead are seen as having no rights to
      privacy.

      I find your anticapitalist viewpoint a bit repugnant.
      A nice clean government paid effort was going to map
      the human genome; spending billions or taxpayer
      dollars and decades of effort. Left alone, the
      "clean" gov't effort would just now be within sight of
      their goal.

      Then an individual with a better idea (which was
      rejected by the genome establishment that was
      benefiting from the LONG effort), raised private money
      and implemented a faster, and in some ways, better and
      certainly cheaper ($0 tax money) effort that also
      motivated the gov't establishment to "get the lead
      out".

      The result, the benefits of the human genome for
      further research are available a half decade sooner;
      and quite possibly more coherent.

      The NIH is QUITE capable of behavior (from personal
      knowledge) that is more shameful than even, say,
      Enron, would be capable of.

      The profit motive is a purer motive, with more social
      benefits, than what motivates many (most ?) gov't
      bureaucrats !

      And patents do expire; while decades long delays do
      not.

      Alan Drake

      P.S. My supervising professor invented CAPD, an
      alternative to hemodialysis for renal (kidney)
      failure.
      NIH threatened to destroy him (in a bathroom
      conversation) unless he assigned the patent to them so
      that NIH could claim the benefits ($1 billion/year
      savings for US gov't, saving ~400 children/year who
      would have otherwise been allowed to die, etc.) in
      order to impress Congress. He refused.

      The US Attorney sued him for 3.5 years, cost him
      $250,000 in legal fees and severely restricted his
      research (and lead to his early retirement). 3 weeks
      before trial the US offered a deal. He would assign
      his patents to NIH and then license them back for $1.
      By this time, he accepted.

      There was a significant loss in research during those
      3.5 years and the lost years from his early
      retirement.
      And he was pinished for doing something that was
      univerally agreed to be a "good thing".

      So much worse, so much more immoral than any profit
      making deal !

      --- jerry_weinstein <jerry.weinstein@...>
      wrote:
      > Thanks for your reply, Diane! (and hi to everyone
      > else)
      >
      > I appreciate the facts, as you experienced them.
      >
      > Outcry in the sense of Sequana's motive - to patent
      > an anti-asthma gene
      > and to not duly compensate the inhabitants of TdC,
      > who would have
      > provided the genetic material that would make such
      > research possible.
      >
      > There are most biotech companies who are "gene
      > prospecting" indigenous
      > cultures the world over, not merely hoping for a
      > cure of this or that,
      > but vast profits. Many of us here in the U.S. are
      > ashamed of both are
      > country's position that life can be patented, and
      > that companies, not
      > villages, will profit in the process.
      >
      > What do you think about this?
      >
      > Cheers,
      >
      > Jerry


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