Genetics has been integrated into patient care across many subspecialties. However, genetic and genomic testing (GT) remain expensive with disparities in access both within Canada and internationally. It is, therefore, not surprising that sponsored GT has emerged as one alternative. Sponsored GT, for the purpose of this document, refers to clinical-grade GT partially or fully subsidised by industry. In return, industry sponsors—usually pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies—may have access to patients’ genetic data, practitioner information, DNA and/or other information. The availability of sponsored GT options in the Canadian healthcare landscape has appeared to simplify patient and practitioner access to GT, but the potential ethical and legal considerations, as well as the nuances of a publicly funded healthcare system, must also be considered. This document offers preliminary guidance for Canadian healthcare practitioners encountering sponsored GT in practice. Further research and dialogue is urgently needed to explore this issue to provide fulsome considerations that one must be aware of when availing such options.
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Contributors This document has been prepared by the Sponsored Testing Working Group of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) and Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC), which included representatives from various provinces, practice committees and patient partner engagement. It was reviewed by general membership and approved by the CCMG and CAGC Board of Directors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.