Patently A Problem

DURATION: 1 x 45 mins

Patently A Problem


Every day, worldwide, laboratories routinely analyse human genes to pinpoint a whole range of suspected diseases. Life-saving treatment can depend on fast, accurate diagnoses. Tests like these cost a lot of money. And now corporations are moving to cash in.

Four Corners spotlights one Australian company, a hot item on the stock market, which is aggressively enforcing a suite of patents that affect an extraordinary 95 per cent of every living creature's DNA.

As the biotech revolution powers ahead, reporter Jonathan Holmes investigates whether a system meant to encourage investment and to reward invention may instead deny the people it is supposed to help: those who suffer genetically inherited diseases.


Bruce Belsham