Medical Records Meet Personal Genomics

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky April 10, 2008
Biopolitical Times
Over at Women's Bioethics Blog, Sue Trinidad calls our attention to an outrageous new biotech business venture:
Perlegen Sciences, a spinoff of Affymetrix and a "recognized leader in genomics" (by their own lights) recently signed a deal with an electronic medical records (EMR) company for rights to the medical data of 4 million patients. According to the Perlegen press release, the data will be mined for "genetic markers that could help predict patient response to certain treatments." Patients who meet defined criteria will be sought--through their personal physicians, no less--to obtain samples of their DNA.
Perlegen's press statement is at pains to assure that it
will only receive de-identified patient records, which can then be re-identified only by participating healthcare institutions in a HIPAA-compliant, IRB-approved manner.

Now imagine a company that wants a DNA sample but that doesn't have to go to all the trouble of re-identifying the person of interest, getting IRB approval, paying the doctor for access to the person. A company, say, like 23andMe or Navigenics.

Personal genomics, anyone?

Previously on Biopolitical Times: