Target Health Blog

FDA Authorizes First Direct-to-Consumer Test for Detecting Genetic Variants That May Be Associated with Medication Metabolism

November 4, 2018

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Regulatory
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Pharmacogenetics is the process of understanding what, if any, role genetics plays in a patient's reaction to drugs.

The FDA has permitted, with special controls, the marketing of the 23andMe Personal Genome Service Pharmacogenetic Reports as a direct-to-consumer test. This diagnostic provides information about genetic variants that may be associated with a patient's ability to metabolize some medications. The test detects 33 variants for multiple genes. The Personal Genome Service test analyzes DNA from a self-collected saliva sample, and the report describes if a person has variants in certain genes that may be associated with a patient's ability to metabolize some medicines.

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service Pharmacogenetic Reports test is not intended to provide information on a patient's ability to respond to any specific medication. The test does not describe an association between the detected variants and any specific drug nor whether a person will or will not respond to a particular drug. Furthermore, health care providers should not use the test to make any treatment decisions. Results from this test should be confirmed with independent pharmacogenetic testing before making any medical decisions.

The FDA's review of the test determined, among other things, that the company provided data to show that the test is accurate (i.e., can correctly identify the genetic variants in saliva samples) and that it can provide reproducible results. The company submitted data on user comprehension studies that demonstrated that the test instructions and reports were understood by consumers. The test report provides information describing what the results might mean, what the test does not do and how to interpret results.

The FDA reviewed data for the test through the de novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for novel, low-to-moderate-risk devices that are not substantially equivalent to an already legally marketed device. Along with this authorization, the FDA is establishing criteria, called special controls, which set forth the agency's expectations in assuring the test's accuracy, clinical performance and labeling. For this category of device, the FDA established six special controls, including a labeling requirement that a warning statement must be included noting that the consumer should not use the test results to stop or change any medication. These special controls, when met along with general controls, provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for this test.

The FDA granted the marketing authorization of the Personal Genome Service Pharmacogenetic Reports test to 23andMe.

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