Genetic testing: healthcare of the future?

Genetics is playing an increasingly important role in health care. New technical advances and information deriving from human genome research are changing health care practices and the economics of healthcare provision. These advances have broad social implications, particularly with the prospect in the future of a significant increase in the choice of genetic tests on the market. 

Can there be equitable access to such testing? What is the impact of offering tests for conditions for which there is no effective medical treatment at present? What are the quality guarantees for genetic testing, and should there be international standards?

An OECD workshop on genetic testing held in Vienna on 23-25 February was devoted to the discussion of ways to optimise health care benefits while protecting individuals and their families from the potential of discrimination on the basis of the testing.

©OECD Observer March 2000 

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