California health regulators have demanded that 13 direct-to-consumer genetic-testing startups halt sales in the state until they prove they meet state standards. The state Public Health Department sent the cease-and-desist letters last week following an investigation spurred by consumer complaints about the tests' accuracy and cost, a department spokeswoman said.
Two of the most visible companies to offer consumer genetic testsRedwood Shores, Calif.-based Navigenics and Mountain View, Calif.-based 23andMe, which has financial backing from Googleconfirmed receiving the letters.
Health officials would not identify the companies involved until confirming they had received the letters but said all the targeted companies advertise on the Internet.
The mostly Web-based services have two weeks to demonstrate to regulators that their laboratories are certified by the state and federal governments, said department spokeswoman Lea Brooks. "There's either concern they don't have a license, there isn't a physician's order, or both," Brooks said. "That's what's under investigation."