Public Interest Grows in PGx
A recent phone poll conducted by researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina revealed widespread public interest and approval of pharmacogenetic testing, especially when it came to preventing mild or serious side effects. Furthermore, nearly ninety percent seemed interested in using pharmacogenetics to either fine-tune dosing or help in selecting medications. Younger individuals, those who had previously experienced negative side effects from medications, and the college educated were the most likely to voice their interest.
However, the study also revealed widespread fears about patient confidentiality and unwanted information exchange. Roughly eight out of every ten respondents said that they would refuse to be tested if there was a risk that their information could be shared with potential employers or other individuals without their permission. Even though federal law protects against genetic discrimination by employers or insurance companies, public wariness remains high.
With pharmacogenetic testing's rising frequency in the clinic the public is likely to grow steadily more aware of its potential risks and benefits. As long as policies remain transparent and trustworthy, it is likely that pharmacogenetics will be warmly welcomed by patients.
Source: Haga and O'Daniel et al (2012).
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