In July of 2018, 23andMe announced that GlaxoSmithKline- a large pharmaceutical corporation- purchased a $300 million stake in the genetic testing company. The pharmaceutical company hopes to collaborate with 23andMe and use their genetic data to develop new drugs. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns for consumers. Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, was quoted in a TIME article stating, “This information is never 100% safe. The risk is magnified when one organization shares it with a second organization. When information moves from one place to another, there’s always a chance for it to be intercepted by unintended third parties.” Not only should the people who completed the DNA test be concerned, but blood relatives could also be identified with the right information. 23andMe commented in the article assuring consumers that data privacy is a top priority for the company and data from customers is never used for research without consent. However, some critics believe that users who allow their data to be used in research should be compensated in some way or be able to take the test for free since the company will be profiting off their data. In my opinion, customers should be told who will have access to their data and what it will be used for before they take the test. I also think it is a good idea to offer free tests for customers who are willing to allow their sample to be used in research since they will essentially be profiting off of it.
Ducharme, Jamie. “23andMe's GlaxoSmithKline Partership Raises Privacy Concerns.” Time, Time, 26 July 2018, time.com/5349896/23andme-glaxo-smith-kline/.