Friday, May 14, 2010
On Tuesday, Walgreens announced that they would be releasing a personal genetic test kit at their stores on Friday. However, on the following Friday they announced that they would be holding off on the release until approved by the FDA.
Pathway, the manufacturer of the test kit, claims that their personal test kit can be sold without the approval of the FDA because it is not intended to be used as a diagnosis or treatment tool. The genetic testing kit’s only purpose is to provide consumers with genetic information on more than 70 health conditions, their response to some prescription drugs, their propensity for disease and whether they could pass any inherited disease on to their children.
The tests are said to provide incomplete information for consumers and as such, people should not replace a visit to their doctor in lieu of these at home tests. The American Clinical Laboratory Association urged consumers to seek the guidance of their doctor or other health care provider, before using direct-to-consumer genetic tests, to ensure safety and efficacy.
Nashville bioidentical hormones expert Dr. Benita Swartout advises that these direct-to-consumer genetic tests do not test individuals for disease - only for the propensity to develop specific diseases. Consumers have to be careful in their usage of the information received and what action they choose to take based upon it. Dr. Swartout notes that useful information can be found with such testing, but that it is important to follow up with a physician or health care professional that can help you take the necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of developing diseases. Scientists don’t currently have a full understanding of genes that could be contributing factors to disease; speaking to a doctor will yield the best results.
The major benefit of these tests is that the individual can be pushed to make certain lifestyle changes to improve their overall health. The best way to gauge the risk of developing certain diseases is still a thorough evaluation of your present lifestyle and your family history.