Class Action Lawsuit Targets Home DNA Test Kits

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A San Diego resident has filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of a personal genetic testing kit, claiming the company uses false advertising to mislead consumers.

San Jose Mercury News reports that Lisa Casey filed the suit against Google-backed startup company 23andMe, after paying to have her genes analyzed by the company. The Silicon Valley genetics company sold “spit kits,” which customers filled with saliva samples and sent back for analysis.

23andMe claimed to provide customers with a detailed genetic history report, including insights into their ancestry and future health risks for 240 conditions and diseases. The company’s advertising includes phrasing such as “plan for the future” and “find out if your children are at risk” for specific diseases. However, Casey’s lawsuit states that the test results are meaningless and the company misleads consumers into believing the results should influence their medical decisions.

These test kits would allow 23andMe to compile genetic information from massive amounts of people, and the company has acknowledged that it hopes to create databases for medical research from the test data, states the Mercury News.

The lawsuit was filed just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered 23andMe to stop advertising and selling its products. The Mercury News reports that the FDA has been warning the company since 2010 that the test is considered a medical product and currently violates federal law by making medical claims that have not been tested or approved by the FDA.

According to estimates in the lawsuit, which seeks at least $5 million in damages, “tens or hundreds of thousands” of consumers in the United States are entitled to refunds and damages for the $99 DNA test kits.

If you or a loved one is considering a product liability lawsuit, contact San Diego personal injury attorney Melinda J. Helbock. Ms. Helbock has successfully represented clients in many cases of liability and defective products.

NOTE: Ms. Helbock is not representing the client in this case.