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Arguments in favor of reining in the availability of effective patent protection in the area of genetic diagnostic testing are based largely on two fundamental misconceptions regarding the role of patents in this important area of technological innovation. The first is the mistaken assumption that patents negatively impact patient access to genetic diagnostic testing by preventing research that might lead to new or improved versions of a genetic test and by increasing the cost of testing services. The second is the failure to appreciate the substantial positive role patents play in in the development and utilization of genetic diagnostic tests. In fact, patents have little if any negative impact on basic research, and have been proven to significantly improve patient access to advanced diagnostic testing services by incentivizing the substantial investment that is necessary not only to bring these tests to market, but also to educate patients and their doctors with respect to the availability of the tests, and to work with third-party payers to expand patients' eligibility for reimbursement. Next-generation technologies are poised to dramatically improve healthcare and patient outcomes, but this will only occur if effective and enforceable patent protection is available as the necessary spur for innovation and commercialization.

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Boston University Journal of Science and Technology Law