Drug testing kit approved for sale in US

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 01 February 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:323
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. BMJ

    A urine test kit that detects marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs of misuse is to go on sale in drug stores and pharmacies in the United States.

    The kit, marketed as Dr Brown's Home Drug Testing System, is the first non-prescription drug test to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Outgoing FDA commissioner, David Kessler, said: “Consumers have a right to expect accurate and reliable information from products like these.”

    Each kit has an identification number, which is placed on the urine specimen so that results can be obtained anonymously. The kit is then sent to a certified laboratory where the sample is tested for marijuana, pentachlorophenol (PCP), amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, codeine, and morphine. The laboratory carries out confirmation testing to minimise false positive reports, and the results are available between one and three days after receiving the sample. The screening tests used have all been cleared by the FDA.

    Results are obtained over the telephone. The caller is also given information about the meaning of the test result and the potential for false positive and false negative results; if necessary he or she is offered referrals for drug misuse counselling and medical help.

    Donna E Shalala, Health and Human Services secretary, said: “The Clinton Administration has zero tolerance for illicit drugs. The approval of this test gives parents another option to consider to help ensure that their children remain drug free.”

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