Five Golden Rants: DTCG Shenanigans

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Part 2 of Five Golden Rants

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Continuing our festival of rants, anyone who has read our blog this year could predict I'm going to pick on DTC genomics. There's no amount of wrapping this present that can keep you from shaking it a bit and knowing exactly what it is.

So let's get right to it.

DTCG Shenanigans

The DTC world continues to drive innovation: I'm continually amazed at their ability to create new, more effective ways of being irritating and trivializing the good work being done by just about everyone else.

If you have only joined the industry this month, let's do a quick recap.

This year:

  • All the major DTCG companies received at least one enforcement letter from FDA
  • FDA took the rare step of publishing several of the letters to draw attention to them
  • Several DTCG companies were hauled in front of Congress
  • Several DTCG companies were subjected to a humiliating GAO sting operation that exposed the inconsistency of their results and their willingness to provide information and counseling that is not supported by scientific findings

Even after all of that, several of these companies have expanded their offerings to include Personal Genome Services that attempt to provide results that could directly effect the types and amount of medications given to patients.

It was bad enough to see these guys charging hobbyists for general disease probability information that was interesting, but largely useless. It is truly upsetting to know that physicians could use this information in any way that affects patient care.

I've been accused of having various self-interested reasons for disliking DTCG. You can make that argument, but that's not the main reason they irritate me.

DTCG companies irritate me because they are the Kardashian family of the medical device industry: sexy as all get-out but primarily famous because of a willingness to facilitate blatant rule-breaking. I can live with the fact that OJ had good lawyers and that they made a ton of money from defending him, but I still don't think we should be treating their kids like royalty.

Ditto on 23andMe's willingness to turn scientific inquiry into a carnival attraction. I can live with some amount of success coming from hucksterism, but seriously... could somebody tell NIH to stop encouraging them?


Tags: LDTs

Part 2 of Five Golden Rants

View part: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ]

« Entertaining Diagnostics

Down The Hatch »

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