Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

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Lack of Health Benefits in Consumer Genomics - PEALS Response to the UK Government

PEALS evidence to the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into commercial genomic testing has been published, influencing policy-makers on whether the current regulatory framework for commercial genomic testing is fit for purpose.

PEALS' submission (PDF: 126 KB) to the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee's Inquiry into 'Commercial Genomics' has been published. The Committee launched an inquiry into commercial genomic testing that is, genetic tests which are sold direct to people in pharmacies or online, rather than through a healthcare provider. The Committee's aim is to establish what safeguards need to be put in place to protect those who get tested.

The tests claim to offer people important and empowering information about certain health conditions, via an analysis of their DNA. The PEALS response said it is difficult to see what real health benefits there are to a consumer who undertakes such a test. A recent study showed that 40% of such tests results are inaccurate, yet receiving DNA analysis which says a person may be at risk of developing a health condition in the future can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress to individuals and families.

The tests also appear to be provided without following existing ethical guidelines and UK law around informed consent.

Credit: EURORDIS

published on: 17 September 2019