From the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ): Federal government says regulation of consumer genetic tests is unnecessary:
Industry forecasts indicate that Canadians will soon face a marketing avalanche to persuade them to purchase personal genetic test kits. But while American officials are moving to regulate do-it-yourself genetic testing kits because of concerns that results may be erroneous or may prompt patients to alter their medications or make other unhealthy choices, Health Canada says it is open season for companies hunting for Canadian sales.
Many have expressed worries about direct-to-consumer genetic testing. I’ve blogged about some of those worries, including here:
- Personal Genomics: the Ethics of Shared Uncertainty
- Geneticists Challenge Personal Genomics Companies’ Results
- New Science Casts Doubt on Gene Tests
But it’s not at all clear that the permissive attitude of Health Canada is going to result in an avalanche of tests being made available in Canada. A lack of regulation can actually mean a lack of certainty for companies, and a lack of certainty makes for bad investments. I personally spoke to one American biotech executive a couple of years ago who cited Canada’s relative lack of regulations as one reason why her company was hesitant to invest here.