Intended for healthcare professionals


Pandemic self-testing has led to boom in unregulated “wellness” tests, researchers warn

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 16 August 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p1895
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The covid pandemic “normalised” self-testing for much of the public and accelerated the creation of a new market for direct-to-consumer health tests that are becoming increasingly accessible but may be doing more harm than good, researchers have warned.

Speaking at the Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark, researchers from around the world expressed apprehension over the growing prominence of poorly evidenced direct-to-consumer tests and the questionable ways they are promoted.

“This is a regulatory Wild West at the moment,” said Patti Shih, research fellow at the Australian Centre for Health Engagement Evidence and Values. “There are multiple players in a very large, unregulated market and there’s very little transparency.”

Some direct-to-consumer test companies have already been caught by regulators, including a multiple blood testing panel marketed to UK consumers with the tagline “FREE if we don’t find anything,” which was found to have breached advertising standards.1

Consumer genetic testing kits—some of which …

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