31 May 2019
Genomics offers increasing potential to inform and improve the prediction, prevention, diagnosis and management of disease, and it is reasonable to expect that the volume, complexity and scope of genomic testing will therefore increase significantly over the coming years, both in the NHS and the commercial sector.
The main risks to individuals from commercial direct-to-consumer (DTC) genomic tests arise where they are less clinically valid or useful as implied or believed, through lack of follow-up care, and from the inherent uncertainties arising from extensive human genomic analysis.
Commercial DTC genomic testing is likely to place a growing burden on the NHS through patients requiring information or intervention, and may exacerbate health inequalities.
Clear parameters for acceptable engagement of commercial genomics tests and services with health services and publicly funded biomedical research should be developed, including guidance and support for health professionals to respond appropriately to commercial DTC genomic test results.
Appropriate and proportionate regulation of commercial genomics offerings, especially DTC tests, will be increasingly needed.
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