Sixteen years since the completion of the human genome project—one of the most important scientific feats in human history—people in many nations around the world can have a version of their genome analyzed for a modest fee. People do this for a variety of reasons, including to better understand their ancestry and to get important insights about their health. Unfortunately, not all European nations have embraced this health innovation. Despite its many benefits and growing adoption, a few EU member states limit direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing—or in the case of France and Germany, prohibit it altogether. As Eline Chivot writes in Health Europa, EU policymakers should call for France and Germany to lift their bans on DTC genetic testing and instead harmonize laws to create a single market.
Countries that prohibit it are limiting their populations’ ability to access information about their own genetic legacies, which could be critical to their future health. These countries will fail to harness significant economic benefits and competitive advantage over countries that have embraced societal change and technological progress. Moreover, EU policymakers should work to harmonize laws to create a single market for DTC genetic testing in the EU to unlock the potential of genetic data for all EU member states.