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Watchdog cautions on chemist DNA test ads

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016 Petrina Berry

Pharmacy franchise Chemmart has been pulled up by the consumer watchdog over claims made in ads for a genetic test that had the potential to mislead customers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was concerned about Chemmart's promotional claims that its myDNA test can identify the right medications and dose for people based on their genetic makeup, without highlighting the tests' limitations.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said a person's age, gender, weight and lifestyle factors, including smoking, were among a range of factors that could affect the type of medication and dose a doctor prescribes.

"Consumers place a high level of trust in pharmacists and the information they provide," Ms Court said.

"They're entitled to expect that products and services in pharmacies are promoted in a way that is clear and accurate, and explains both the benefits and limitations of those products or services."

She said this was a reminder to pharmacies to avoid making overly broad statements about products.

Chemmart has withdrawn all of the television advertisements, catalogues and other promotional materials containing the statements of concern.

The myDNA test cost $149 and is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance rebates.

Melbourne-based genetic laboratory company myDNA provides the service which involves analysing a cheek swab.

Its website says its DNA analysis can help doctors make more informed decisions when they prescribe medications, a statement the ACCC said is reasonable.

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