Korea to allow use of direct to consumer (DTC) devices for some genetic testing

Patients in South Korea are able for the first time to buy genetic testing kits at stores and on the internet, making possible self-diagnosis of some diseases that until now mandated a hospital visit.

The decision by Korean authorities to permit the marketing of DTC devices went into effect January 17. It covers kits that use a sample of patients’ saliva to obtain genetic analysis. The kits allow patients to diagnose themselves for cancer and dementia.

Previously, only simpler tests, such as those to measure blood sugar and blood pressure, were available in Korea outside a hospital setting.