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October 2021

Biotechnology and commodification within health care

Journal/Book: J Med Phil. 1999; 24: P O Box 825, 2160 Sz Lisse, Netherlands. Swets Zeitlinger Publishers. 267-287.

Abstract: The biotechnology industry's intellectual property claims contribute to a subtle but not insignificant encroachment of commodification within health care. Drawing on the conceptual framework of Margaret,lane Radin, I argue that patent claims on human biological materials may commodify that with which our personhood and individuality is intertwined but that such commodification is broad and incomplete. Patents on nonhuman biological organisms contribute to a more materialistic understanding of them but do not significantly change our relationship to them. The systemic effects of biotechnology's commodification within health care are various and may compromise the goal of good health. The morally problematic aspects of patent claims entail certain obligations to inhibit commodification from becoming more egregious, but on balance, those aspects are currently insufficient to justify denying the benefits the patent system promotes.

Note: Article Hanson MJ, Hastings Ctr, Route 9-D, Garrison,NY 10524 USA

Keyword(s): biotechnology patents; commodification; gene patents; intellectual property rights; TECHNOLOGY; PATENTS; GENES


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