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Marchant article published in ‘Slate’
The widespread clinical use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) will be good for patients, but it also
will leave physicians exposed to great liability risks, according to a new article in
magazine, by ASU Regents’ Professor of Law
and Rachel Lindor, Research Director in the Center for Law, Science & Innovation.
“The Doctor Will See Your Genome Now: Will whole-genome sequencing create a new liability tsunami for physicians,” posted on Friday, Nov. 25, is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among ASU, the New America Foundation and
Since the first human genome was sequenced a decade ago, at a cost of $100 million, the commercial price tag has dropped to less than $10,000, and companies are racing to get the price to below $1,000, Marchant and Lindor wrote. When that occurs, experts believe genetic testing will become economically feasible for routine use in medical care, according to the authors.
“Should genomic sequencing become nearly as routine as, say, a colonoscopy or cholesterol check, doctors—most of whom have no formal genetics training—may find themselves in a precarious position,” they wrote. “These doctors may be extraordinarily vulnerable to lawsuits regardless of whether they embrace or resist the use of WGS with their own patients. While other players such as the testing labs may also be subject to lawsuits if they negligently conduct or interpret genetic tests, it is doctors who will be required to communicate and explain test results to patients, which is the step that involves the greatest duty to the patient and carries the biggest risk of liability.”
To read the full article, click
Marchant is Executive Director and a Faculty Fellow of the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and the ASU Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics. His research interests include the use of genetic information in environmental regulation, risk and the precautionary principle, legal aspects of personalized medicine, and regulation of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, neuroscience and biotechnology. He teaches courses in Environmental Law, Law, Science & Technology, Genetics and the Law, Biotechnology: Science, Law and Policy, and Nanotechnology Law & Policy. He was named a Regents' Professor in 2011 and also is a professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences.