23andMe Needs Better Fan Boys

Because they’re just not getting it (boldface mine):

We, the healthcare consumers of America, demand that we maintain access to genomics testing services like 23andMe’s, which serve as a 100% privately purchased complement to government-regulated healthcare.

The FDA grossly overstates the risks associated with 23andMe’s assessments. Statements such as those suggesting that dangers like false positives may “lead a patient to undergo prophylactic surgery, chemoprevention, intensive screening, or other morbidity-inducing actions” are outrageous and patently false.

Risks associated with services like 23andMe’s are understood by private consumers, while the benefits of these services (such as early diagnoses for chronic diseases) are significant. The price of over-regulation is lengthy delays in potentially life-saving medical innovations.

You really didn’t want to use the phrases “early diagnoses” and “potentially life-saving medical innovations” here. Although, this petition doesn’t appear to be ‘astroturfed’ as it’s the exact opposite argument 23andMe has been making.

Mind still boggling.

Meanwhile, regarding the idea that this is harmless:

One San Francisco-based neurologist, who asked to remain anonymous, told me that some of her healthiest patients — all 23andMe customers — have begun demanding unnecessary and expensive MRI tests for Alzheimer’s disease. “23andMe’s test is creating chaos with people in their 20s and 30s,” she said. “They generate havoc and walk away.”

…Stephan told me about a family friend who ordered a 23andMe test on a whim. His mother felt compelled to take the test, after discovering that her son carried a genetic variant called BRCA, which indicates a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. After the mother received a positive result, she ordered a double mastectomy despite protestations from friends and family.

And Dr. Jen Gunther discusses the implications of these results for hormonal birth control and reproductive health.

Snark aside, diagnosis is a serious business.

(I’ve posted a screenshot for posterity below the fold)


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