An international association consisting of doctors from 71 countries will protest a move to patent data on the genetic makeup of humans, claiming such action could bring exclusive benefits to certain companies, according to Japanese members of the group.
Member organizations of the World Medical Association will submit objections to the patenting of human genome data to a general assembly of the France-based WMA scheduled for October in Edinburgh, the Japan Medical Association said Thursday.
A team of scientists announced at a White House ceremony Monday that it had produced a working draft of the human genome after 10 years of work.
U.S. venture companies have also recently announced they have finished decoding human genome information. It is believed the breakthrough will open the way for new drug development in various countries.
Some WMA member bodies, including the British Medical Association, insist that data obtained by mapping human genes should contribute to the progress of humankind in such forms as improvements in gene therapy rather than benefit specific countries and companies, according to JMA.
They also claim practical use of human genome data should start after ethics guidelines and principles to protect privacy are established, JMA officials said.
In some European countries, governments are setting up standards that can easily be cleared by companies hoping to obtain patents on human genome information in order to protect domestic medical industries.
JMA members also want to create an international patenting standard for human genome data, saying different standards in each country could result in a monopoly of the data by one company.