More voices raising questions about consumer gene testing

The Mercury News editorial page had a great column today from three experts on genetic testing that provides the medical perspective on why a physician should be involved in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing process. They argue that these are indeed medical tests, despite industry arguments otherwise. And the results are complex.

I wrote about this subject last Sunday in my Merc Column. That followed on the news that 13 of these firms had received cease and desist orders until investigators could determine whether they were complying with state health regulations.

The column today was written by David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics; Mildred Cho, director of the Stanford University Center for Integrating Research on Genetics and Ethics; and Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan, director of the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy’s Center for Genome Ethics, Law and Policy. They write:

“Some of the companies clearly have no physician involved in ordering the tests. At least one company has claimed to be in compliance with the law because a physician who works for the company reviews all customer orders. This response is clearly not sufficient. The point of the law is to ensure that each patient (or customer) has a physician looking after their interests when ordering any medical tests. A physician working for a company trying to sell tests is clearly not well-situated to look after a patient’s best interest.”

I agree. Read the rest of the column here.

 

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