By Anne Wojcicki
After discussion with officials from the Food and Drug Administration today, 23andMe will comply with the FDA’s directive and stop offering new consumers access to health-related genetic tests while the company moves forward with the agency’s regulatory review processes.
23andMe has been giving consumers access to health information for six years and is committed to finding the right regulatory path for our customers. I am highly disappointed that we have reached this point and will work hard to make sure consumers have direct access to health information in the near future. Our goal is to work cooperatively with the FDA to provide that opportunity.
We also want to make clear that we stand behind the data we have generated for customers. Our lab partner adheres to strict quality standards that are part of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 — known as CLIA. These are the same standards used in the majority of other health and disease-related tests. We decided several years ago to comply with CLIA guidelines to be consistent with other types of laboratory testing and to assure customers about the quality of data.
As we work with the FDA to get clearance, there will be some significant changes to the site. Customers who purchased kits on or after the FDA’s warning letter of November 22nd will not have access to health-related results. Those customers will have access to ancestry-related genetic information and their raw data without 23andMe’s interpretation of that data. They may receive health-related results in the future, depending on FDA marketing authorization.
Customers who purchased kits before November 22, 2013 will continue to have access to all the reports they’ve always had.
This is clearly a much different service than in the past, so we are offering customers who purchased kits on or after November 22, 2013 a full refund if they wish. Those customers will get an email from 23andMe with details on the refund policy. Eligible customers who do not receive an email are encouraged to check their spam email folders for the email with their personalized instructions or contact our Customer Care Team.
Research is and will continue to be a significant priority for the company. The 500,000+ customers we have today have given us more than 250 million survey data points. You, our customer, have powered an incredibly important crowd-sourced research database that I believe can have a significant impact on the pace of discoveries and cures. We will continue our Parkinson’s, sarcoma, MPN and African American research projects and plan to launch more communities in 2014.
23andMe will also continue educational efforts to consumers, physicians and other health providers as we believe genetics will be an increasingly important part of all of our lives.
Finally, I want to say thank you to our customers for your support and your stories. Many of you have written in about how 23andMe has changed your life. It is rewarding for me and all the employees at 23andMe to serve our customers. I am committed to 23andMe and committed to being a pioneer in the genetics revolution.