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Breaking 23andMe's Terms of Service: Not just the patient's problem.

Posted May 26 2010 6:49am

A blogger over at 5Am Solutions Blog is about to break 23andMe's Terms of Service.

"So I called my primary care physician's office and told the appointment-taker I wanted to discuss my 23andMe results with my doctor. She said 'ok' and scheduled an appointment for next week."

May I just add. It is not the doctor breaking the Terms of Service here. It is the customer by bringing it in to their doctor.


"BOOM! That patient coerced that doctor into malpractice liability. Section 3 of 23andMe Terms of Service : “The Services Content is not to be used, and is not intended to be used, by you or any other person to diagnose, cure, treat, mitigate, or prevent a disease or other impairment or condition, or to ascertain your health.”

The worst of this is that 23andMe ACTIVELY INSTRUCTS its users to violate this clause —not only personally, but to also implicate their medical doctors in crime.

And the doctor is trapped: he can respect the law and alienate the patient, or ignore the law and appease the patient."

Oh, wait. Maybe by using 23andMe I am now involved in their legal mess? Crap!

That being said, I just received the Counsyl results from one of my patients yesterday. Unlike being put in a risky position by the good folks at 23andMe, Counsyl is straight up clinical and useful.

I will be notifying the patient via secure email of his results and spending an hour going over it with him.

The Sherpa Says: 23andMe, just like others in the space have demonstrated a general disrespect of the precarious position they have put physicians in by using such crazy and convoluted Terms of Service to avoid regulations. But heck, why should they care about the hot water they put us in.

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