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DNA Testers Sell Out to Big Pharma

Millions of people wanting to find out more about their genetic histories are turning to private firms for DNA tests. Last week, one such company – 23andMe – sold its customers data to GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s biggest drugs companies.

The two organisations will be working together on the development of new drugs to combat disease, the theory being that this will speed up the notoriously slow traditional medical trials model.

But, there are downsides too. Many users didn’t realise they were signing up to handover their genetic profile in this way. Perhaps even more worrying, Australian insurance companies can refuse to provide certain types of cover on the basis of such tests.

Jess was joined by Dr Jacqueline Savard, Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism at Deakin University.

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