A lawsuit has been filed by a nonprofit “industry watchdog” against WebMD’s consumer STD lab tests for allegedly misrepresenting its tests as being FDA approved.
agency, Responsible Telemedicine, filed the suit after it found that
just three of the nine offered STD tests the company marketed and
sold underwent premarket approval set up by the U.S. Food and Drugs
Administration – the process in which the FDA approves a laboratory
lawsuit also alleges that five of the nine tests are noted as being
cleared instead of approved, which means the process for premarket
notification is not as strict. The five tests are chlamydia,
gonorrhea, hepatitis A, herpes 1, syphilis and female trichomoniasis.
The male trichomoniasis, they allege, has not attained any approval
from the FDA.
Telemedicine Executive Director Aadel Sarfani said misrepresenting
the approval process of a clinical diagnostic test is a huge breach
of trust and a major misrepresentation of its products. Sarfani said
it was important to improve telemedicine’s quality, and what WebMD
is doing is not helpful in the effort.
to the nonprofit, WebMD claims a physician will do a review to ensure
the testing was correctly done. However, the suit states patients are
not for any medical conditions or history – making such a review
health and telemedicine are still very new to the healthcare market,
and the industry is trying to find its place in the healthcare
said people need to have some trust in telemedicine if it’s to be
successful. For sites like WebMD to break the trust, it makes it
harder for people to trust the industry. This is why immediate action
is necessary to combat the problem and look for answers when false
claims are made and misleading consumers, Sarfani said.
WebMD isn’t the first digital company to face legal problems. For example, uBiome, which is a groundbreaking direct-to-consumer microbiome testing company, was invested by the FBI last year for its deceitful billing practice such as double-billing insurance companies for tests, using inappropriate billing codes, or illegally compensating telemedicine doctors referring patients to use uBiome.
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A sexually transmitted disease – HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes and syphilis, to name a few – can happen to anyone young or old. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are roughly 20 million new STD cases each year – with a fraction of those being reported.