You really, really shouldn’t give your DNA to genomics companies like 23andMe or Ancestry. As the recent arrest of the Golden State Killer reminded us, these genetic databases are a goldmine for law enforcement. Catching serial killers isn’t bad, of course, but problems start to arise when, say, these genetic databases are used to target people for deportation.
But in case you needed another reason why voluntarily giving your DNA to companies is a bad idea, on Wednesday the genomic-ancestry company 23andMe announced it was forking over its DNA data to the world’s ninth-largest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The exclusive partnership gives GSK access to 23andMe’s database that includes the genomes of over 5 million people.
The agreement was pioneered by the two companies’ chief scientists, Hal Barron and Richard Scheller, who previously worked together at another drug company called Genentech. Indeed, the partnership is a sweet deal for both companies. 23andMe sold GSK a $300-million stake for the four-year agreement and GSK gets exclusive access to one of the world’s largest private genetic databases. Ostensibly, the genetic information is going to be used for “research and development of innovative new medicines and potential cures.”
This sucks but isn’t altogether surprising. It was inevitable, really. You can opt-out by changing your consent form, but who really knows if that means anything. The fact that 23andMe’s co-founder, Anne Wojcicki, is married to Google’s Sergey Brin doesn’t exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Given that they’ve already used these kinds of sites to catch criminals unbeknownst to the individuals submitting their DNA, the things they can do with that kind of access are worrying. Don’t for a second think that these people have your best interests at heart. At best, AT BEST, you can hope that they’re just trying to make a profit on drugs for diseases and conditions that do not have definitive treatments or cures yet. Even then, what kind of upside is it if they’re just going to upcharge an exorbitant amount, often times to the same damn customers who gave their DNA in the first place, for treatments once they’re developed.
The other side of the coin is much darker. Very likely Deep State assets are already deeply entrenched in big pharma. What if they have nefarious purposes far beyond just wanting to turn a profit? Nobody doubts that some vaccines can be very effective in combating certain diseases. What many apparently don’t understand is when people are freaking out about vaccines they’re either worried that big pharma is deliberately putting something other than the intended vaccine in (like here) or they’ve just buried studies and research that show adverse effects (autism, maybe?) because they’ve invested so much into the product already. Who’s to say it would be any different here? What if they use this information to synthesize drugs that would make it difficult or impossible to curb an addiction to a particular type of drug? Check out the Sackler family some time. Or just check out the graphic below, which happens to be comparing the number of opioid deaths as compared to those who died in German controlled concentration camps in WWII. The comments he made at the OxyContin launch party quoted are from the mid 1990s.
I don’t know if there’s a way to completely wipe out your DNA from any of these companies. It’s too bad. A site like this has some very cool ancestral and health benefits to it. Imagine being able to sign up for a product or service by a company without having to worry about your damn information being sold against your will to other people? What a crazy idea.
Even if they said they opted you out from using your DNA for research (or whatever else), can you really trust them? Either way, if you have signed up for one of these sites, and 23andMe in particular, at the very least opt out of giving access to GSK to your DNA.