More Insurers Willing to Cover Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in a Trend That Creates New Opportunities for Clinical Pathology Laboratories to Add Value

Most insurers still determine coverage on a case-by-case basis, but two major payers now have coverage policies that are helpful to clinical labs that perform WES

Whole exome sequencing (WES) is not new for clinical pathologists, but it is becoming more common in a clinical setting as more physicians learn about its uses.

This is due to two reasons. First, researchers are identifying new ways to use whole exome sequencing to improve patient care. Second, the cost of whole genome sequencing continues to fall at a steady rate, making it ever more affordable to use in clinical settings.

As recently as 2009, WES was prohibitively expensive and there was little possibility that insurers would cover the cost of the test, as it was considered experimental. Now, however, evidence is mounting that it is an effective diagnostic tool. Therefore, more payers are announcing coverage for WES for an expanding number of diagnostic purposes. (more…)

China Puts the Kibosh on Genetic Testing, Surprising Even Genetic Experts—Effects on Recent Multi-million Dollar Investment by BGI of Shenzhen Uncertain

Prenatal testing, the most popular in China, is banned, affecting current projects at providers—another lesson for laboratories in how quickly things change

Genetic testing has been halted in China. This unexpected decree was announced in February. Government officials cited challenges surrounding “ethics, privacy, and the protection of human heredity resources, in a message posted on the China Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Authorities named prenatal DNA tests in particular as an area of concern in genetic testing. This may surprise pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals, who have regularly read about the substantial investments major Chinese companies have made in the field of gene sequencing. (more…)