Diagnostic Tests

Health care products

Diagnostic Tests
Diagnostics
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Health care providers often base diagnosis and treatment decisions on information from in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), which analyze blood, tissue, and other human samples. These tests must produce accurate and meaningful results; otherwise, patients may receive delayed, inferior, or even unnecessary medical care.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews many IVDs to verify their accuracy and ensure that a test’s benefits outweigh its risks. However, the agency has historically exempted diagnostics developed and used within the same laboratory from this oversight process. These lab-developed tests have become widespread and increasingly complex, exposing more people to potential harm from unreliable or misleading results.

Pew is conducting research on the market for diagnostic tests and is advocating for legislation that would subject these products to FDA review based on their risks to patients, not where they are made.

In Vitro
In Vitro
Issue Brief

What Are In Vitro Diagnostic Tests, and How Are They Regulated?

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Issue Brief

What Are In Vitro Diagnostic Tests, and How Are They Regulated?

Health care providers rely on a variety of tools to diagnose conditions and guide treatment decisions. Among the most common and widely used are <i>in vitro</i> diagnostics (IVDs), which are clinical tests that analyze samples taken from the human body. Patients may receive—or forgo—medical care based on diagnostic test results, making it critically important that tests are reliable.

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.