Allergy testing in supermarkets: Misleads susceptible people

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6927.539 (Published 19 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:539
  1. A B Kay
  1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, London SW3 6LY
  2. Safeway, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4AY.

    EDITOR, - Effective management of patients with allergic disease requires a history and physical examination followed by relevant laboratory tests, including allergy tests, which are chosen primarily on the basis of the patient's history. The tests should be selected and interpreted by the doctor who obtained the history and performed the examination, who should have been trained in, and have experience of, allergic disease. It is regrettable, therefore, that the pharmacy department of the multichain supermarket Safeway is now offering diagnosis of allergy and advice on treatment on the basis of a short questionnaire and a blood test (the Quidel multiallergen dipstick screening test).

    The promotion leaflet states that: “Laboratory analysis can... identify exactly what you are allergic to. There is no need for a doctor's referral. ... We give you sound, sensible advice on how to cope with your allergy.”

    At first sight …

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