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Biotech

Genetic Testing Coming To a Drugstore Near You 110

Hugh Pickens writes "The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Walgreens is slated to begin selling genetic-testing kits priced from $20 to $30 apiece that can tell people whether they're likely to get breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, become obese, or suffer from a range of other maladies. However, to get the results of various tests, shoppers will have to fork over an additional $79 for drug-response results, $179 for 'pre-pregnancy planning' results, $179 for health condition results, or $249 for a combination of the three. Pathway Genomics and other companies already offer such tests online, but Walgreens will be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to sell them. FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley says Pathway overstepped its bounds when it announced its plans to market the tests directly to the consumer at 6,000 of Walgreen's 7,500 stores and wants Pathway Genomics to submit data showing that its tests give accurate results. 'The claims have limitations based on existing science,' says Riley, 'and consumers should not be making important medical and lifestyle decisions based on these tests without first consulting a health-care professional.' Walgreen responded that FDA clearance is not required to sell the kit in its stores; and anyway, the drugstore chain already sells other diagnostic and testing products such as pregnancy tests, paternity tests, and drug tests."

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