Tag: Sciona

DNA Testing Companies Pulling Out of California Direct-to-Consumer Market

Written by on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Wired.com is reporting that three DNA testing companies are pulling out of the California direct-to-consumer market, as a result of California’s recent action to send cease and desist letters to thirteen DNA genetics testing companies (See our recent  blog posting).

Alexis Madrigal for Wired.com reported yesterday that HairDx decided “on advice of legal counsel, to require California (and New York) residents to order their tests through a doctor.”  Then today, Madrigal reported that two additional genetics companies, Sciona and SeqWright, have decided to pull out of the California market.  According to Madrigal, SeqWright “ceased allowing tests from the state without even getting rapped by regulators.”

Will other DNA testing companies soon follow suit? It seems that the State of California’s actions may very well prove to have had a chiling effect over the whole DNA direct-to-consumer industry.  As Madrigal in his Wired.com column suggests, this may have very well been the intended result.

At least one company, however, may be prepared to take this fight to the next level.  Madrigal reported today that 23andMe seems to be standing its ground.  The company appears to be taking the position that it is in compliance with California law and is going to continue to sell in California at this time.  There is no word yet as to whether any other DNA testing companies are prepared to stand up to the state and challenge its regulatory actions.

It’s hard to see how these developments are good for the State of California.  One would have expected that a state as proactive as California with respect to promoting biotechnology and stem cell research would not have taken such a hard stance against direct-to-consumer DNA testing.  Will this incident ultimately prove to be the nail in the coffin for DNA testing services?  Certainly, California’s actions have the potential to initiate a wave of similar actions across the country, as other states may feel pressured to follow California’s lead.

The California Biotech Law Blog will continue to follow developments on this issue as they arise.


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