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.
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health