NSGC Releases Statement on Personal Genetic Testing Kits Available through Retail Pharmacies

Statement from the National Society of Genetic Counselors Regarding Personal Genetic Testing Kits Available Through Retail Pharmacies
May 2010

The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) recognizes that personal genetic testing kits available through retail pharmacies may increase access to medical testing services for some individuals. However, receiving genetic information directly from a manufacturer or supplier and without input from a qualified health care provider increases the chance for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of results.

“Distributing genetic testing through pharmacies will expose more people to its availability. However, people should first meet with a genetic counselor to determine whether genetic testing is right for them and to prepare for what they might learn,” said Elizabeth Kearney, NSGC’s president.

NSGC recommends individuals ask the following questions before they consider undergoing genetic testing: 

  1. What will the test tell me? Discuss with your genetic counselor what you would like to learn from genetic testing. There are many different types of genetic tests. If the wrong test is ordered, it may not give you information about your medical concerns.
  2. What is the scientific basis for the testing? Some genetic tests provide more conclusive results than others. Also, a genetic counselor can integrate the test results with your medical and family history to provide more powerful and useful information.
  3. What might you do with the information once you know the results? Consider theimplications of knowing the test results and the impact that could have on you and your family, both medically, emotionally and in terms of life planning.
  4. Will there be a knowledgeable health care professional involved with giving you the test results? It is important that someone who has expertise in genetics helps youunderstand and interpret your test results. For example, genetic counselors havespecialized training in medical genetics and counseling and have Master’s degreesin their field.

For more information or to find a genetic counselor in your area, visit www.nsgc.org.

About the National Society of Genetic Counselors

NSGC is the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession, representing more than 3,000 health professionals. The organization is committed to ensuring that the public has access to genetic counseling and genetic testing. For more information, visit www.nsgc.org.

NSGC Media Contact:
Veronica Jackson
Public Communications Inc.

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