Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How can insurers use DTC genomics to profile?

The Answer: They float a trial balloon in the Merry 'Ol Land of Oz......

So when everyone pointed out to me that this NIB in Australia was offering deep discount Navigenics tests, I laughed.......Why?

You did see the story on DeCode in Newsweek and the fate of deCodeMe right? Or Daniel's blog?

You see, these little SNP chips have got to find a market or they will soon die. Even worse, these little SNP tests have got to find a market soon or they will die too.......

And maybe the companies associated (Not the people mind you) with them?

So when I posted about the Humana Executive who was running Navigenics after Mari Hit the Road and the high likelihood of Navigenics trying to find an insurance partner for their little charade.....

That is precisely what I thought when I saw the presser from Navi about Jack Lord, Humana's "Innovation" director running Navi.

I thought, which Insurer would be stupid enough to use the DTC genomic tests to profile patients' risks for disease.....

Well, it turns out that they aren't so stupid over here. Instead, they convince some company in 'Oz to do it as a "trial balloon"

Guess what? It has failed. Thanks to bloggers like Daniel and reporters like Kerry O'Brien

"KERRY O'BRIEN: Are you aware the American Medical Association recommends that a doctor should always be involved in a person's genetic testing and that according to The Washington Post the lack of doctor involvement in precisely these kinds of tests has made the tests technically illegal in some American states.
MARK FITZGIBBON: No, I wasn't aware of those findings, but again using my example I took my test to the doctor. Now, if we need to do more in terms of encouraging people to take these tests to their doctors, we're already offering a counselling service, an advice service as part of the product offering. Maybe that's what we'll do. And this is very much in a pilot stage."

Oops, did KPCB forget to tell NIB that this was Illegal in some states?

So much for Due Diligence.....try Google next time Fellas....

The Sherpa Says: If there is any question how I feel about this test clinically, you can read here. But as to my thoughts on using it to estimate community risk pooling for insurance. Didn't GINA outlaw that?


Anonymous said...

So much expertise and motivation in biochemistry is forced free of any particular wealthy institution by this relentless cannon-fodder march for diagnostic genetic testing into the walls of public medicine.

Expect some "Linux of medicine:" the world's best tools: so free that you aren't smart enough to even know they exist!

Except this time, rather than coeds building Facebook in a dorm room, coeds will be sorting their gametes.

This should be fun. Just because you can't sell it on TV doesn't mean nobody wants it. The best stuff ain't for sale.

Anonymous said...

So why does NIB, an Australian company covering Australian citizens, care whether such testing may be illegal in certain U.S. states?

I hope this isn't the logic you use to treat your patients.

renatam said...

Dr. "Sherpa" - I am confused.

Are you FOR personalized medicine or not? Are you happy NYS licensed Navigenics...and is no doubt on the path of doing so with other companies...or not? As a pioneer physician you must be aware that one doesn't begin with an optimal end result for an entirely NEW INDUSTRY...at the beginning of the process. Certainly, as a physician, you are. So, I am confused by your posts making assertions that cross the line to outright claims of conflicts of interests and...sometimes worse...without a shred of proof. Why undermine the trust/confidence in this new world in this way?

Nor should dated links that no longer apply to the fast evolving and current business/economic climate, technologies and law(s) in differing American States and the international sector be fused - adding to the confusion for neophytes...like me...who, though we are not of your august standing...deserve better from you.

Is it your belief that ANY executive or Board Member who has a former affiliation is actually acting in the capacity of all former posts/affiliations/occupations - and - Navigenics Board, the State of New York Department of Health, investment banks and Proctor & Gamble are incapable and/or otherwise conflicted insofar as validating Management and future plans as detailed to the aforementioned?

Are only physicians capable of avoiding conflicts of interests when they choose to participate in the business sector???

For those of us who are not physicians, bankers or biotech experts/lawyers...though your posts are always entertaining and provacative fun...confusing. Fortunately, I try to keep up and have historical context to provide me with not only insights - but a view of where conflicts really lie. I cannot see them with Navigenics, nor with the decisions of P&G, investment banks, NYS Dept. of Health...to validate this fine Company and its efforts to pioneer new, difficult terrain in a challenging economic climate.

Be well.

Steve Murphy MD said...


Hmmm......you are confusing the issue here. The questions Australians should care about is "Why"

Why is it illegal in some states?
Is there something that could be dangerous or risky about this?

That is called intellectual curiosity and that is what I treat patients with......

I think your statement is not logical?

Why should NIB, a presumed responsible business whose interests include covering patients/customers and ideally protecting them.....ideally.

Why would they be interested in doing something which is illegal in some of the US.

Maybe they don't care why the laws are the way they are in the US? Maybe they just do the simpleton business wonk play of "Doesn't affect us...." Let's move for profit! Which I doubt this play will.

Or maybe they do care and aren't impressed by the laws?

Well, no. They didn't know. He even said so. Now that they do know, what will become of this deal?

Will they care, or not?

And if not, why not?

Your statement is pretty silly actually. They should have done their "due diligence"....despite saying they have, clearly they haven't......

And THAT, THAT is the problem. There are a ton more red flags in this interview, but that LACK OF KNOWLEDGE is probably the biggest RED FLAG of all....


Steve Murphy MD said...

Renata M,
A lot of stuff here. So I will break it up. Maybe I will blog post it?