Video: Genetic tests, coming to Walgreens near you

  1. Transcript of: Genetic tests, coming to Walgreens near you

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The news from the world of medicine tonight is about a question people have

    asked each other for years: Would you want to know if you were at risk for things like Alzheimer 's, diabetes or breast cancer ? You will soon be able to find out. By the end of this week in just the form of a test, a genetic testing kit available at the drugstore. And this raises now a host of issues. The story tonight from our chief science correspondent Robert Bazell .

    ROBERT BAZELL reporting: a test that promises to help predict your future health.

    Coming soon to many Walgreens drug stores: Thank you for calling Pathway Genomics . For access to a genetic counselor , press three.

    Unidentified Woman #1: The manufacturer, Pathway Genomics , says it is the future of medicine.

    BAZELL: People should have a right to any kind of information about their health.

    Mr. JIM WOODMAN (Pathway Genomics): Genetic tests have been available online for years. But now at the drugstore you can buy a kit for 20 or $30, then send in a sample of your saliva to the company. Then, depending on how much you spend, up to $437, you can find out some of your genetic propensity for a long series of diseases and whether you might be a carrier who could pass other conditions on to your children.

    BAZELL: I think it's a bad idea. I wouldn't buy it, and I would recommend to my friends and family that they not buy it.

    Mr. HANK GREELY (Stanford University School of Law): Would you want to be tested?

    BAZELL: I think that this could be a good thing, but it'd have to be some follow-up.

    Unidentified Man #1: It's always better to be knowledgeable about those things.

    Unidentified Woman #2: Nope. I don't want to know.

    Unidentified Man #2: Scientists know that for most diseases, any particular gene plays a small role. So the company says, for the most part, the results won't change people's lives.

    BAZELL: What we're talking about here is in health conditions, lifestyle, behavior, diet, exercise are things people should be doing anyway.

    Mr. WOODMAN: A vast understatement, the opponents say.

    BAZELL: And if you find out you've got a BRC1 mutation, you may decide to do things other than just eat better, you may decide to get a prophylactic double mastectomy. That's a big deal .

    Mr. GREELY: Might they say, `My gosh, I guess I shouldn't have children.' Or, `My goodness, I'm going to die at a young age, let me spend all of my money and drop out of college.'

    Ms. ELLEN MATLOFF (Yale Cancer Center Genetic Counseling Director): There are obviously a host of privacy and moral concerns concerning genetic testing . Up to now the FDA has not been regulating these tests. But agency officials told me today that with this move into drugstores, Brian , they're starting to take a very strong look at regulation.

    BAZELL: Well, we always knew this day would come. Bob Bazell,


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