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Public reactions to direct-to-consumer genetic health tests: a comparison across the US, UK, Japan and Australia


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Charbonneau, J, Nicol, D ORCID: 0000-0002-6553-2839, Chalmers, D ORCID: 0000-0002-7925-8818, Kato, K, Yamamoto, N, Walshe, J and Critchley, C 2019 , 'Public reactions to direct-to-consumer genetic health tests: a comparison across the US, UK, Japan and Australia' , European Journal of Human Genetics , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1038/s41431-019-0529-8.

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While direct to consumer health-related genetic testing (DTCGT) has potential to provide accessible genetic information andempower individuals to make informed healthcare decisions, it attracts concern associated with regulatory gaps, clinicalutility and potential for harm. Understanding public reactions to DTCGT is vital to facilitate considered regulatory, healthcare and consumer protection strategies. Yet little is known, particularly outside the dominant US market, about how thegeneral public view and might engage with DTCGT outside traditional health care systems. This paper addresses thisknowledge gap with the first empirical study to investigate general public views across four countries, each at differentstages of market development. US (n = 1000), UK (n = 1014), Japanese (n = 1018) and Australian (n = 1000) respondentscompleted an online experimental survey assessing comprehension, risk perceptions, and potential psychological andbehavioural outcomes by type of test (disease pre-disposition and drug sensitivity), severity, lifestyle factors, and familyhistory. Results showed generally low awareness and intention to purchase across countries, highest in the US and lowest inJapan. Results also showed clear preference for within-country purchases (less in Japan), with reports returned via doctorsfar more important in Japan. All respondents were more likely to act on test results, where there was higher genetic orlifestyle risk of developing a disease. Statistical comparisons of demographic and health-related variables across countriespoint to the need for further analyses designed to explain much needed cross-cultural, cross-health care system anddeveloped versus developing market differences.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Charbonneau, J and Nicol, D and Chalmers, D and Kato, K and Yamamoto, N and Walshe, J and Critchley, C
Keywords: direct to consumer genetic testing, public trust, survey
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Human Genetics
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1476-5438
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41431-019-0529-8
Copyright Information:

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to European Society of Human Genetics 2019

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