Thursday, May 10, 2007

Too Far

So I have been reading another blog linked in my brand new DNA Network a Feedburner network set up by Rick at My Biotech Life. I was invited by the group and I am very excited about participating in the discussion. To have such a network encourages debate and solutions. I love the ability to communicate with other persons about the future of health care. That being said, I think this blog may have gone too far. They are talking about Direct to Consumer Testing

  • "Not surprisingly, the genomic revolution has a lot of medical professionals who aren't geneticists* concerned about who's doing what, and how."

Not only Non-geneticists, but GIANTS in the field of genetics (Francis Collins, Margretta Seashore, Kurt Hirschhorn, Ed McCabe, Victor McKusick to name a few) have some serious concerns about how things are going. Including Gene Patents, Enzyme Replacement costs, and yes Direct-To-Consumer Testing. This blog goes on to say.....

  • "It shouldn't be a territorial issue, but when money is involved, it inevitably raises this issue."

I would venture to say that these physicians and scientists are less concerned about money than they are the stewardship of their respective fields. Shame on this author for insinuating that they think like her. I know these people and money is the least of their worries. Lastly she finishes with

  • What's the difference between a direct-to-consumer company that provides medical services and a for-profit physician group that provides medical services?

The answers are many let me start with the obvious ones first.

  1. Medical practices do not get paid for the tests they order for patients. It is ILLEGAL by Stark II laws. Nor do they get paid for the interpretation of these tests.
  2. The DTC company does not examine you, they may not even do a family history.
  3. The physician group has a referral network to send you to when something is diagnosed.
  4. The ideal group will continue to follow you even after the testing.

I could go on but I think you get the picture. Shame on this blog (which is part of my network) for foolishly trying to think they are even in the same category as a group of physicians who have ethical and legal obligations that DTC companies are not even close to being subjected to. Perhaps the physicians who are under their employ are subjected to these regulations, but do they even carry out medical care?

Must we have this argument? Collaboration is what is needed not the "framing of MDs as money hungry" I would say that perhaps there is some self-projection going on with this DTC company.

What do you think?

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