There's a valuable petition circulating on whitehouse.gov
, asking the administration to overrule the FDA's decision to bar 23andMe from conducting genetic tests.
The FDA's argument is essentially that, if these tests aren't regulated and run through the complete pipeline of the medical establishment, they might give people information which leads them to seek out incorrect medical treatments. But this argument strikes me as pure BS; (that's the technical term) any seeking out of medical treatments would be done through doctors, which are the appropriate point at which to insert useful professional advice. To shut off the ability of individuals to get at their own genetic information benefits nobody, especially when there are already a number of well-understood markers (such as BRCA) whose meaning individuals can put to lifesaving use.
There's a tendency in the medical world to assume that patients, if given information, will misuse it. This is part of why your medical records aren't generally open to you. (The other part being that it lets doctors put in annotations they don't want you to see -- something else whose value I'm not convinced of) This is simple nonsense, and the FDA's move to essentially shut down all genetic testing services is a simple power grab.
And for once, a whitehouse.gov
petition seems like one of the most appropriate means to respond. As an executive branch agency, the FDA is answerable to the President via the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the President is, in fact, the natural path along which to escalate this. The other appropriate thing you can do is contact your representatives: a bunch of annoyed Congressthings (so annoyed because they have a bunch of annoyed constituents) is a great way to get the FDA's attention as well.