Doctors face ‘wrenching questions’ about genetic testing and legal risks. Do we need new laws?

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As DNA testing gallops ahead, doctors face wrenching questions about legal risks, protecting patients’ privacy, and the quality of the genetic information they’re providing—and they need help. That was one message from a symposium [April 25] at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in Minneapolis. Leaders of a $2 million project called LawSeq are wrestling with how to push the legal world to catch up to science.

One of the biggest concerns is legal liability. Health care providers face a disconnect: Technology has outpaced their ability to interpret genetic results, such as a patient’s risk of breast cancer or heart attack from a particular mutation. Because of that, typical fallbacks including providing a rigorous standard of care—which can also act as a legal shield against malpractice claims—are becoming fuzzy. What is a doctor to do when a patient has results from a direct-to-consumer testing company like 23andMe and asks what implications they have for their health?

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New laws, [lawyer Susan] Wolf believes, will need to be written, and new regulations crafted by key agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Read full, original post: Medical DNA sequencing leads to lawsuits and legal questions

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