From a Good Housekeeping magazine article to a Consumer Reports on Health special report, direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC) has figured prominently in the media coverage of human genetic technology this spring. Many of the articles have highlighted the difficulties faced by consumers in trying to assess the quality and legitimacy of the tests and the claims made by the various companies. (See “Who Regulates Genetic Tests Issue Brief” for more information). Media coverage also has focused on the status of federal regulatory oversight and how the current regulatory environment may inadequately protect consumers and the public’s health. The Genetics and Public Policy Center has been regularly featured in these articles, and Center staff members have been quoted numerous times for their expertise in the field.
Following an extensive layout in the Washington Post that included a feature article and three sidebar articles on direct-to-consumer genetic testing, the Center’s law and policy director Gail Javitt was asked to serve as an expert consultant for a one-hour online chat on the newspaper’s website. Javitt, assisted by colleagues Juli Murphy and Susannah Baruch, addressed a wide range of audience questions and concerns, including insurance company access to DTC test results, the role of the federal government in regulating DTC testing, and validity issues in DTC laboratories. Participants from Boston to Portland posed questions to the panel. “What this shows,” Javitt says, “is that there’s real public interest in, as well as concern about, DTC testing, and very little information is out there to help consumers figure it out.”
The Center continues to monitor the DTC genetic testing marketplace and will feature our in-depth analysis in an upcoming newsletter.
The Center has been featured in the following publications about DTC testing:
- June 13 - "Tests for Sale: A Sampler," Washington Post, Sandra Boodman, Gail provided information for this article on direct-to-consumer genetic testing, Center referenced.
- June 13 – "Genetic Testing," Washington Post online chat with Gail.
- June 13 - "You're Sure You Want to Know?," Washington Post, Sandra Boodman, Gail interviewed and quoted on direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
- June 13 - "Too Much Information," Washington Post, Sandra Boodman, Gail interviewed and quoted on direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
- May 11 - "Knowledge is power, but can you handle it?," Cnet news, Stefanie Olsen.
- April 28 – "Your Genetic Test is In the Mail," Good Housekeeping, Madeline Drexler, Kathy interviewed and quoted on direct-to-consumer genetic testing. (not available online)
- April 26 - "Should you screen your genes?," Consumer Reports on Health, Gail interviewed and quoted about federal oversight of genetic tests. (not available online)
- March 25 - "Boy or Girl? Couples Choose Unborn Children's Sex," ABC Good Morning America.
- February 22 - "Experts call for regulation of baby gender tests," ABC Action News, Linda Hurtado