Panel wants regulations for genetic tests

January 18, 2008

A federal panel contended that regulations for genetic testing have not advanced with the growing number of consumers who buy them.

The panel, named the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society, argued that the increasing amount of genetic trials have been advertised with unproved claims and could be deceptive, The New York Times reported Friday. The panel is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Cancer, diabetes, heart failure, and cystic fibrosis are among the conditions the tests claim to inform at risk patients of.

The panel warns that inaccurate test results given by doctors who lack experience with them could cause harm to sick patients in need of correct treatment.

"We would welcome more federal regulation. It's unclear what regulatory requirements apply to our products," Sciona Chief Science Officer, Rosalynn D. Gill said of the company, which conducts "nutrigenetic tests" over the internet.

The panel wrote in a report that test providers lack requirements for information disclosure to support their claims and that proof of their value is rare.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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