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Reprod Health Matters. 2001 Nov;9(18):44-8.

Reading between the lines: direct-to-consumer advertising of genetic testing in the USA.

Author information

  • 1Bioethics Section, Medical Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. shull@nhgri.nih.gov

Abstract

This article critiques an advertisement in a theatre playbill by a bio-technology company for its commercial test for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutation, which may indicate a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The advertisement targets a vulnerable audience attending a play about one woman's isolated and painful death from ovarian cancer. It promotes a product with incomplete and at times incorrect information, and it misguides women by suggesting that they contact the company directly about this test, rather than encouraging them to talk to their health care providers about genetic testing and their personal risk of breast cancer. In an era in which more genetic tests will be integrated into clinical practice, we can expect an increase in direct-to-consumer marketing for such tests. This advertisement is an example of what we need to be on guard against.

PMID:
11765398
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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