The Health News – 08 October 2015


Overview:
• A two-time cancer-surviving grandmother Yvonne D’Arcy, 69 years old from Brisbane has won her “David and Goliath” battle against Myriad Genetics that wanted to patent the BRCA-1 cancer gene. The court found that while the discovery of the gene was a product of human action, to consider it an invention would stretch the law too far. The ruling is in line with the US Supreme Court ruling that genes are not inventions, but discoveries.

• Daniel Lloyd, a South Australian man turned around his unhealthy lifestyle and a lack of exercise to shape up for a crack at the New York marathon. Mr Lloyd is among 10 Indigenous participants from across Australia who were chosen for what is known as the Indigenous marathon project. The project was launched four years ago by Australian marathon legend, Rob de Castella, to promote healthy living.

• Dr David Bramley, from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, are warning patients are at risk of serious harm because labels on strong surgical drugs are too easy to mix up. He has written to health authorities urging them to introduce clearer labels. He has outlined 12 cases of the wrong surgical drugs being used in Victorian hospitals in 2011, with more than 90 per cent of errors due to look-alike packaging.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 8th October 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  

Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/breast-cancer-gene-cant-be-patented-high-court-rules/6833232

A two-time cancer-surviving grandmother from Brisbane has won her “David and Goliath” battle against a US biotech firm that wanted to patent the BRCA-1 cancer gene.

Myriad Genetics had argued it held the patent over the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes which, if present, dramatically increase a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

But Yvonne D’Arcy, 69, argued the genes existed in nature, so were discovered rather than invented.

The company succeeded twice in the Federal Court, but the High Court …overturned those decisions as it ruled unanimously in Ms D’Arcy’s favour.

Ms D’Arcy said the High Court challenge had been a “David and Goliath” battle, and said the ruling would make testing for the BRCA-1 gene more accessible.

“I’m only a little person, but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” she said.

“For all those people who do have the genetic footprint for breast cancer or any cancer basically, it’s a win for them because now they’re forewarned,” she said, speaking from Brisbane.

“The testing will be a lot cheaper and it will be more available … rather than using only Myriad’s agents at a price that nobody really can afford.

The main legal issue was whether the identification of the gene by Myriad Genetics could be recognised legally as an invention.

At the heart of the case was the concern that ownership of the gene patent could stifle the research and development of treatments for genetic diseases.

The court found that while the discovery of the gene was a product of human action, to consider it an invention would stretch the law too far.

The ruling is in line with the US Supreme Court ruling that genes are not inventions, but discoveries.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/new-york-marathon-daniel-lloyd-indigenous-squad/6833572

A South Australian man has turned around his unhealthy lifestyle and a lack of exercise to shape up for a crack at the New York marathon.

Daniel Lloyd said two years ago his diet was junk food and he had never run more than a few kilometres.

“I was eating a lot of takeaway — all of the junk food that you shouldn’t really be putting in your body,” he said.

Mr Lloyd said he came from a mining background where there was a drinking culture.

A six-month training schedule now sees him ready to compete in New York next month.

“Some days you feel like giving up but you had a goal and you made a commitment at the start that you need to honour,” he said.

Mr Lloyd is among 10 Indigenous participants from across Australia who were chosen for what is known as the Indigenous marathon project.

The project was launched four years ago by Australian marathon legend, Rob de Castella, to promote healthy living.

De Castella joined the group for a recent 30-kilometre trial race in Alice Springs.

“Endurance means that you keep on going when it gets hard, when it gets tough you don’t give up, you just keep on going forward,” the former champion said.

Mr Lloyd heard about the marathon project from friend Luke McKenzie who was involved previously.

Mr McKenzie more recently has helped organise running events at Murray Bridge in South Australia, including the Indigenous-focused “deadly” fun run.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/lookalike-drugs-causing-patient-harm/6833066

Some of Australia’s leading anaesthetists are warning patients are at risk of serious harm because labels on strong surgical drugs are too easy to mix up.

Dr David Bramley, from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, has written to health authorities urging them to introduce clearer labels.

Senior doctors have sent a report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration detailing a number of serious medication errors involving neuromuscular drugs.

“These medications paralyse patients, leaving them unable to move or breathe, whilst remaining fully conscious, and place them at risk of serious psychological trauma or death if administered accidentally,” Dr Bramley said.

He has outlined 12 cases of the wrong surgical drugs being used in Victorian hospitals in 2011, with more than 90 per cent of errors due to look-alike packaging.

In 10 instances, doctors injected a completely different type of drug into patients.

“Without further intervention, it’s likely these incidents will continue to cause serious outcomes for hospitalised patients,” he said.

A recent survey revealed that more than 75 per cent of doctors had experienced a ‘near miss’ attributed to medication packaging.

Doctors want labels similar to those used in the United States and Canada, where strong neuro-muscular agents have red warning labels on the top.

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