We refer to the article, “More taking DNA tests to predict health risks” (April 30).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) would like to clarify that the results of direct-to-consumer (DTC) or non-clinical genetic tests would not affect an individual’s insurability.
DTC tests are not used to diagnose, prevent, or treat medical conditions as they may not be based on strong clinical or scientific evidence.
These tests are typically not ordered by a medical practitioner, and their findings are not analysed professionally by a medical practitioner. They are usually taken for general wellness or recreational purposes (for example, ancestry testing, innate lifestyle testing or nutrigenomic testing).
As such tests are taken directly by individuals outside of a healthcare setting, any findings from the tests are not considered to be part of a patient’s medical records.
Under the MOH-Life Insurance Association Moratorium on Genetic Testing and Insurance, insurers are not allowed to request the disclosure of DTC, non-clinical and predictive genetic test results in insurance underwriting.
Medical practitioners should also not disclose any such results to the insurers even if they were asked to, and should report any of such requests from insurers to MOH.
Healthcare providers and medical practitioners are advised to inform individuals who are considering non-clinical genetic testing of the risks and benefits, and to exercise due caution when interpreting the test results.
Individuals should not regard the DTC genetic test results as medical information or advice, or assume based on the results that they might be susceptible to developing certain diseases.
In addition, there may be providers of non-clinical genetic tests who may sell consumers’ genetic data to third parties for marketing or research purposes. We strongly encourage consumers to read the test provider’s terms and conditions carefully before using such tests and to contact the provider when in doubt.
Individuals should also approach their medical practitioners for advice on any health concerns.
For more information on DTC genetic testing, please visit the MOH HealthWatch website (https://www.moh.gov.sg/healthwatch/dtc-genetic-tests).
Director, Regulatory Policy and Legislation
Health Regulation Group
Ministry of Health