The Ethics of Direct-to-Consumer Testing

Ann M. Gronowski, Melissa M. Budelier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Direct to consumer laboratory testing is a rapidly growing industry. However, the idea of consumers ordering their own laboratory tests has raised ethical concerns. Respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice are core principles of biomedical ethics. Although direct to consumer testing would seem to offer autonomy to consumers, autonomy is only maintained if certain criteria are met, including intentionality, understanding, and noncontrol. There is little published evidence to support either beneficence or maleficence of direct to consumer testing. Finally, there are conflicting opinions about the justice of direct to consumer testing and whether it increases or decreases health disparities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalClinics in Laboratory Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Direct access testing
  • Direct to consumer testing
  • Ethics


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