Direct to consumer genetic testing-law and policy concerns in Ireland.

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Direct to consumer genetic testing-law and policy concerns in Ireland.

Ir J Med Sci. 2018 Aug;187(3):575-584

Authors: de Paor A

BACKGROUND: With rapid scientific and technological advances, the past few years has witnessed the emergence of a new genetic era and a growing understanding of the genetic make-up of human beings. These advances have propelled the introduction of companies offering direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing, which facilitates the direct provision of such tests to consumers, (for example, via the internet). Although DTC genetic testing offers benefits by enhancing consumer accessibility to such technology, promoting proactive healthcare and increasing genetic awareness, it presents a myriad of challenges, from an ethical, legal and regulatory perspective. As DTC genetic testing usually eliminates the need for a medical professional in accessing genetic tests, this lack of professional guidance and counselling may result in misinterpretation and confusion regarding results. In addition, an evident concern relates to the scientific validity and quality of these tests. A further problem arising is the lack or inadequacy of regulation in this field. Despite the increasing accessibility of DTC genetic testing, this legislative vacuum is apparent in Ireland, where there is no concrete legislation.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This article explores the main ethical, legal and regulatory issues arising with the advent of rapid advances in DTC genetic testing in Ireland. Further, with inevitable future advances in genetic science, as well as increasing internet accessibility, the challenges presented are likely to become more amplified.
CONCLUSIONS: In consideration of the ethical and legal challenges, this paper highlights the regulation of DTC genetic testing as a growing concern in Ireland, recognising its importance to both the scientific community as well as in respect of enhancing consumer confidence in such technologies.

PMID: 29177916 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]