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Healthcare is still ‘stuck in a world of white coats’: 23andMe CEO

In this article:
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23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the politicization of medicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: I want to ask you about politics a little bit because science has seemingly become more politicized than ever and I'm wondering if that makes it harder for you to market your product to a broad consumer base?

ANNE WOJCICKI: I think in an interesting way now I think what's happened in the last with COVID-- and we were just talking, we just had a call with Andy Slavitt, and we were talking about this where-- and it reminded me of how when there was H1N1. And again, I remember getting-- like I remember rushing to get that vaccine and everyone rushed to get the vaccine. There was no politicization of-- everyone wanted it.

And obviously, there's-- this is wildly political. So I think what that has done is it's opened up a door for additional leadership. And I think that obviously, I'm incredibly supportive of the agencies out there, the CDC, and FDA, and it's really hard to be a scientific leader right now. But I do look at the public is hungry for other people that they can relate to.

Like one company that we've always pointed to is like why do people follow goop and Gwyneth Paltrow? So Gwyneth is-- she's definitely upped her game more with the science but she's not known as a scientific leader but people follow. And I think that one thing that I do think that the science world has missed is that people are looking more and more to relate to their physician and to the science and make the information, something that they can actually understand.

And I think that the scientific medical world is still kind of stuck into a world of white coats, call me by my title, and I use names that you can't understand, and I include a package insert that no one can read. And I think that there has to be some of that consumerization of health care. And so I think of that where I think there's actually an opportunity for 23andMe and we try to do this, have more of a role in scientific leadership. And when we put out publications around COVID we tried to do that very mindfully of like how can we actually help people understand the science of what's really going on here because I do think that people are looking for what to believe.