Can U.S. ensure access to a 2nd diagnostic test?

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, is urging U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials to license patents for confirmatory genetic tests, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports. During a recent agency hearing, she told officials the practice was necessary to ensure the best possible care for patients seeking a second opinion after cancer or other disease diagnoses. Opponents cited a U.S. Health and Human Services study that found, in part, that patients struggled to access genetic tests when the patent holders either delayed, chose not to develop or declined to license the technology for development elsewhere. The hearing is the first of two that will address the issue. Both are mandated by patent reform passed last fall, according to the article. Advocates and opponents await a study due in June that will recommend guidelines to ensure the availability of such tests. Story

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