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Physicians’ Attitudes and Ethical Obligations to Pharmacogenetic Testing

Authors Muflih S, Al-Husein BA, Karasneh R, Alzoubi KH

Received 9 January 2020

Accepted for publication 27 February 2020

Published 10 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 249—258


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Suhaib Muflih, 1 Belal A Al-Husein, 1 Reema Karasneh, 2 Karem H Alzoubi 1

1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan; 2Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan

Correspondence: Suhaib Muflih
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan
Tel +962-79-7868603
Email [email protected]

Introduction: Despite the increased utilization of pharmacogenetic (PGt) testing to guide drug therapy, little is known about the ethical challenges posed by the use of these genetic tools.
Methods: This cross-sectional study aimed to address ethical issues related to ancillary genetic information, consent forms, and potential confidentiality breaches from physicians’ perspectives. A questionnaire was administered to all practicing physicians working in KAUH.
Results: Almost 49% and 65% of physicians were willing to recommend PGt testing for adult and pediatric patients, respectively. The findings showed that physicians attitudes towards the clinical utility of PGt testing became more preceptive. The majority (73.7%) indicated that PGt testing should not be treated as other routine laboratory tests. The finding also focused on potential conflicts regarding ancillary genetic information, in which 78.8% indicated that they would like to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of the patients and only 14.4% of physicians did not feel obligated to let patients know about any future risk that might be uncovered using PGt testing. The findings showed that collecting both verbal and written consents was imperative prior to testing. Seriousness and predictability of the diseases were reported to be legitimate circumstances that allow disclosure of genetic information.
Discussion: Unless the field of PGt testing addresses the ethical challenges that might be encountered during PGt treatment, these issues might influence its acceptance in routine clinical settings. Establishing a minimal set of ethical standards may help emphasize the role of physicians and thus facilitate the implementation of PGt tests.

Keywords: PGt testing, ethical issues, physicians, informed consent form, ancillary information

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