Updated on 21 December 2012
"For the effective prediction of risk and subsequent prevention or treatment of complex multi-factorial disease, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, genetic diagnosis alone is of little use. Genetic markers need to be combined with conventional risk factors to improve the estimation of total risk of disease," said Dr Sanjay Kakkar of Jai Health.
The regulatory landscape is another hurdle. "There are numerous organizations offering direct to consumer (DTC) as well as un-validated or poorly validated genetic tests," adds Dr David Sparling of Genetic Technologies.
Dr Faruq Badiuddin, chairman, Eastern Biotech and Life Sciences, agrees. "Regulatory environment in this segment is still immature. This industry, as far as I know, is poorly regulated, especially in Asia. It is not big enough for the regulators to allocate significant resources to this industry," he said. He also highlights another major challenge which is the shortage of trained professionals to offer genetic counseling.
"Current medical professionals are not well-equipped to handle pre-and post-test counseling and there isn't enough qualified genetic professionals to offer the services on a wider scale. Although the US and the UK are heading towards making it mandatory for a genetic testing provider to offer genetic counseling services, but this is not yet the law," he said.
Dr Nilesh Shah, COO, head technical services, Metropolis group, also notes that "there is shortage of qualified personnel with required competencies to carry out genetic testing."