From the Washington Post:
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday ordered five companies that offer genome-sequencing tests to consumers, or that provide the scientific services for them, to prove the validity of such products.
The FDA said the tests, which scan a person's DNA for gene variants associated with specific diseases, are medical devices requiring the agency's approval.
The ability of genetic tests to predict diseases is currently limited; if the FDA were simply to require firms to acknowledge this point, say with a clear statement of probabilities, that would be one thing (although this task is better met by the FTC under advertising regulation). But the FDA is brazenly overreaching in trying to regulate genetic tests as medical devices. First, there is no question that these tests are safe--safer than brushing your teeth!--and also effective in identifying genetic markers. Thus, there is no medical reason whatsoever for regulation.Moreover, genetic tests provide information, personal information about our bodies and our selves. The FDA has no standing to interfere with the provision of such information.
Consider, I swab the inside of my cheek and send the sample to a firm. The idea that the FDA can rule on what the firm can and cannot tell me about my own genes is absurd--it's no different than the FDA trying to regulate what my doctor can tell me after a physical examination or what my optometrist can tell me after an eye examination (Please read the first line. "G T A C C A...").The idea that the FDA can regulate and control what individuals may learn about their own bodies is deeply offensive and, in my view, plainly unconstitutional.