Current state of genomic policies in healthcare among EU member states: results of a survey of chief medical officers.
Mazzucco W., Pastorino R., Lagerberg T., Colotto M., d'Andrea E., Marotta C., Marzuillo C., Villari P., Federici A., Ricciardi W., Boccia S.
Background: A need for a governance of genomics in healthcare among European Union (EU) countries arose during an international meeting of experts on public health genomics (PHG). We have conducted a survey on existing national genomic policies in healthcare among Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of the 28 EU member states, plus Norway. Methods: A questionnaire was sent to CMOs after a meeting on the policy implications of PHG held during the Italian presidency of the Council of EU in 2014. The survey was closed in November 2015. Results: CMOs response rate was 65.5% (19/29). Twelve (63.2%) reported that their countries had a policy for genomics in healthcare in place, and 15 (78.9%) reported that public funding existed. Public research facilities for the development of such policies were documented in 13 (68.4%) countries, and 15 (83.3%) had working groups devoted to policy development. National agencies carrying out Health Technology Assessment of genomic-based technologies were present in nine countries (50%). Sixteen (88.9%) countries reported having agencies dealing with ethical issues related to genomic technologies. About 55% of countries disclosed the lack of information campaigns aimed at citizens, and 44.4% reported they had a legal framework for direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Conclusion: Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and UK documented the presence of a policy on genomics in healthcare. While many caveats are necessary because of the methodology, results suggest a need for a co-ordinated effort to foster development and harmonization of dedicated policies across EU to responsibly integrate genomics policies into existing health systems.