Class Action Filed Against 23andMe for Fraud and Deceptive Practices
Last week, we filed a class action against 23andMe for fraudulently and illegally marketing its Personal Genome Service ("PGS") for years, despite a total lack of scientific validation for its claims. For instance, 23andMe claims that by sending in your saliva (and paying $99 -- a discount from the original $299) they can provide you with health reports on more than 240 conditions and traits, let you know about your genetic response to various drugs, and most crucially tell you if you're a carrier for specific genetic diseases.
Sounds great, right? Especially when every day it seems like we hear about some new discovery about a gene being linked with cancer. Think about the recent revelation by Angelina Jolie, who wrote that she underwent a radical double mastectomy because genetic testing had shown an 87% chance that she'd have breast cancer and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer.
Who could read that and not want to take every precaution? Paying $99 and spitting in a cup seems like a good start to remaining up-to-date on one's health.
Except it doesn't work. 23andMe, it turns out, has been under investigation since 2008 by the FDA and had more than 14 face-to-face and teleconference meetings with the company to share its concerns, in additional to "hundreds of email exchanges and dozens of written communications." The FDA finally sent a warning letter on November 22, forbidding 23andMe from marketing the PGS until it received FDA approval.
Based on all of this, our firm decided to take action for our client and for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been duped by 23andMe. Here's a copy of the complaint.
If you or a loved one have paid money to 23andMe for this Personal Genome Service, we want to hear from you! Please call or send us an email to tell us your story.