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Published: Tuesday 15 May 2001


the UK government's indifferent attitude regarding the ongoing controversy about insurance on the basis of genetic testing is creating more confusion, says a report released by the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee. The government had said that the insurers themselves should be able to use the information available from genetic testing judiciously. But many companies in the UK want to use genetic testing as a cover to avoid extending insurance for diseases that require more money for treatment.

The committee further said that the industry did not have clear policies regarding the matter and the few reliable genetic tests available at the moment should discourage the insurers to rely on genetic testing. "Insurers have to consider the interests of all their policyholders. We cannot take the matter lightly," opines Mary Francis, director-general of the Association of British Insurers.

The committee has urged the government to impose a two-year moratorium if the industry on its own does not discontinue such testing. Meanwhile, the Human Genetics Commission, an advisory committee of the government, is probing the matter.

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