Cease-and-desist notices sent to DNA testing labs

California's Department of Public Health issues cease-and-desist notices to 13 DNA testing centers that sell self-administered testing, including Google-backed 23andMe.

More than a dozen companies that market genetic testing directly to consumers have been hit with cease-and-desist notices from California's Department of Public Health, following consumer complaints over the accuracy and cost of the tests, according to an Associated Press report.

The 13 companies that received the cease-and-desist notices include Navigenics and 23andMe, which counts Google and Genentech as its investors, according to the report.

Mountain View, Calif.-based 23andMe has been covered on CNET in the past-- most recently last month --primarily because its co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Health officials are focused on whether the companies meet state and federal laws. Under state law, California residents must submit a doctor's order to have a genetic test run. And the laboratories are required to have state and federal certification.

The companies have two weeks to demonstrate compliance. Navigenics, according to the report, has issued a statement that it is already in state and federal compliance.

Consumer complaints, meanwhile, center around the accuracy and cost of the DNA tests, which can range upward of a couple thousand dollars.

A number of self-administered consumer-focused DNA testing services have sprung up over the past few years, which offer to scan the DNA samples to determine ancestry or potential health risks.

According to the report, the federal Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate the accuracy of the tests but has recently considered extending its oversight on this area.

 

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