UPDATED: Now (NOT) at a drugstore near you: Your genome (partially) deciphered
UPDATE: CNN is reporting that Walgreens has backtracked on plans to sell genetic testing kits in its drugstores:
Walgreens has postponed its plans to sell personal genetic test kits after the Food and Drug Administration intervened.
Genetic kits from Pathway Genomics, a San Diego, California-based company, were to be sold at the nationwide drug stores starting Friday. But the announcement prompted criticism from genetics experts and the FDA, which warned consumers to be skeptical about the unapproved product.
The FDA, in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, said: "Pathway Genomics has moved outside of the currently sanctioned boundaries for lab-developed tests by marketing a product in a retail store that asks consumers to collect a sample. These kits have not been proven safe, effective or accurate and patients could be making medical decisions based on data from a test that hasn't been validated by the FDA."
A good move by Walgreens? Share your thoughts in the comments below. You need to be a registered member of ReportingonHealth.org to leave a comment, so if you haven't joined yet, click here. It's easy, quick and free. You can follow us on Twitter, too, @ReportingHealth.
May 12, 2009
We knew that costs were dropping for genetic tests such as those offered by Navigenics and 23andMe but prices as cheap as $100 for testing packages available at your local drugstore? Our jaws are dropping. Here are some details from today's well-done Chicago Tribune story, which offers appropriate cautions.
Starting Friday, Walgreens will begin selling Insight personal genetic testing kits, becoming the first major retail chain in the U.S. to offer home tests that say they assess the risk of developing one of dozens of different health conditions. CVS plans to have it in stores by August.
The product's introduction raises immediate concerns among scientists, bio-ethicists and genetic counselors. They worry that consumers will misuse or misunderstand the results of a test so open to interpretation it is potentially meaningless, or frightening, especially without a full medical assessment.
The science of using genetic testing to predict and improve health still has a long way to go, say experts quoted in the story. Check out the CDC's genomics page for some useful context.
Would you buy one of these tests? What questions about your health would you want to answer? Share your thoughts in the comments below. You need to be a registered member of ReportingonHealth.org to leave a comment, so if you haven't joined yet, click here. It's easy, quick and free. You can follow us on Twitter, too, @ReportingHealth.