Selling genetic testing kits over-the-counter (OTC) in a drug store (apothecary, chemists, pharmacy)…? People might be inclined to say, “Only in America.” Not really. Like it or not, and I suspect most people at this point are more than a little skeptical, this sort of do-it-yourself (which is actually a spit-in-a-bottle-and-mail-it-in) testing is going to happen worldwide. There are always some people with ready cash to have a look into their future – or at least what they think is their future. Therein lies a problem with such ‘consumer genetic testing’ at the moment. For those who are interested in this latest outbreak of modern science ahead of its time, I recommend this blog/article over at 80 Beats (Discover Magazine), which covers all the objections very well:
While you’re down at the drug store picking up toothpaste and sleeping pills, why not have your DNA tested? Walgreens says that this month it will become the first drug store to offer personal genomics tests in its store. For the low, low price of $20-30 you can pick up a kit to take a sample of your own saliva, which you mail off to Pathway Genomics, a company partnering with Walgreens.
Customers can then go Pathway’s Web site and order tests. Pathway says the tests — for drug response, “pre-pregnancy planning” and “health conditions” — start at $79 and run up to $249 for all three [AP].
With the personal genomics trend continuing to accelerate, this was perhaps an inevitable development. But the fact that personal tests are going into drug stores doesn’t mean that personal tests are as readily reliable or regulated as the rest of the tests and medications that fill the aisles.