Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Letter RE: "Personal Genomics: Access Denied? Consumers have a right to their genomes"

Misha Angrist's recent article astutely notes the states' misguided attempts to regulate personal genomics by treating the personal genomics product as more medical relevant than the data currently warrants. While Ms. Angrist sees these regulatory intrusions as somewhat benign, we see significant concerns:   The state actions will effectively sanction those personal genomics companies that do meet the states' relatively  low bar- sending a signal to consumers that it's ok to proceed impetuously; the State has your back!  Similarly, Federal attempts assuage popular apprehension with genetic testing through the recently passed Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)  will provide false security to those consumers concerned with their genomic privacy.  Personal genomics raises many non-trivial privacy concerns that are as of yet unaddressed by either state or federal actions. Recreationally minded consumer oriented personal genomics companies that imprudently suggest that their customers share their genomic results often without concern for either their or their close relatives' (that share a large percentage of their genetic complement)  medical privacy will expose their consumers current and potentially future genetic diseases and dispositions long before we even understand what the data means or how it can be used.

Unpublished letter in response to:
By: Misha Angrist
Published September/October 2008
MIT Technology Review

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