Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Direct To Physician Testing... Myriad re-enters the fray.

According to my insider sources it appears that Myriad is going to launch a Direct To Consumer testing campaign for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancers. Their quote is:

  • "Because 1 out of 10 patients in your practice may be at risk for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer....Help Turn the Tide"

What happened the last time they campaigned? Demand for counseling went up 244% In addition there is a significant amount of literature that indicates the number one reason a "non-geneticist" orders a genetic test is patient request.

There are several ethical issues that need to be addressed with direct to consumer testing.

  • A number of these tests lack data on their accuracy and reliability, making interpretation of results difficult.
  • DTC genetic testing is undertaken outside the context of the physician-patient relationship and may lack appropriate individual and family genetic counseling,
  • This often is leaving the consumer vulnerable to potential harms, such as misinterpretation of results, including false positive or false reassurance, with limited or no benefits

There are several solutions to these problems. None of which should exclude a trained health professional. Remember what I said before "beware the doctor peddling genetic tests"

The Gene Sherpa says: New York in October, the Avon Breast walk, Myriad and its DTC brokers will make some serious cash. Please make sure it is not at YOUR expense. Get the right follow up, get the continuity of care, and BEWARE NON-GENETICISTS SELLING GENETIC TESTS!

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