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Public consulted on personalised medicines

25 November 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 185

The UK's Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a public consultation on the ethical issues raised by the future development of medical prescriptions tailored to a person's genetic make-up. The paper, published on 19 November, poses twenty questions relating to the use of genetic tests to predict how a person will react to a particular medicine, also known as pharmacogenetics.

People often respond differently to the same medicine, for example, it may be more effective in some people than others, or it may cause unwanted side effects in some. It may one day be possible for a doctor to carry out a genetic test prior to prescribing a medicine, to identify the safest and most effective treatment for each patient.

The consultation document looks at the current state of pharmacogenetics, and examines the likely economic and regulatory impact of such tests. It also considers the confidentiality issues associated with storage and use of genetic information collected in this way, and the implications of identifying a genetic variation associated with a particular ethnic group.

'We are looking forward to hearing a wide range of views on these issues' said Professor Peter Lipton, Chairman of the Working Party set up to consider the findings of the consultation. The document is available to download from the Nuffield Council's website, and the deadline for responses is 19 February 2003.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics issues consultation paper on personalised medicines
Nuffield Council |  19 November 2002
Pharmacogenetics consultation
Nuffield Council |  19 November 2002
11 April 2011 - by Ben Jones 
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has begun a broad project exploring how legislators and members of the public respond to emerging biotechnologies. Calling for opinions and evidence, the Council has begun a preliminary consultation that seeks to identify common social, ethical, legal and policy issues raised by biotechnological developments...
18 October 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The UK's Nuffield Council on Bioethics has reported that direct-to-consumer personal genetic profiling services used to predict people's genetic susceptibility for common diseases, such as Parkinson's and diabetes, are often inconclusive, misleading and can potentially cause unnecessary anxiety, complacency or distress when no treatment is available...
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