WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected acase that sought compensation for medical patients whoseextracted blood or organs are used to develop money-makingproducts.
The appeal was bought by John Moore of Seattle, who in 1976had his diseased spleen removed at the University of CaliforniaLos Angeles Medical Center. Researchers discovered thatMoore's spleen contained unique blood cells that produced aprotein called granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulatingfactor (GM-CSF). In 1984, UCLA received a patent for the cellline and subsequently licensed it to two companies, SandozPharmaceuticals Corp. and Genetics Institute Inc.
Moore had claimed that under the Constitution's FifthAmendment he was entitled to "just compensation" for thetaking of his "property." But the Supreme Court yesterdayrefused to accept the case without comment.
The appeal followed a decision last July by the CaliforniaSupreme Court, which ruled that patients do not have propertyrights to their cells.
"It is significant that this matter has been laid to rest," saidRichard Godown, president of the Industrial BiotechnologyAssociation. It is "a good law, good public policy and good forbiotechnology," he said.
-- Rachel Nowak Washington Bureau Chief
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