Intended for healthcare professionals


End to insurers using genetic data urged

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 05 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:838

The Association of British Insurers should introduce a temporary moratorium on the right to ask for genetic test results, according to the consensus view of a large group of actuaries, scientists, and geneticists who met at the Royal Society last week.

The move will add to the pressure on the British insurance industry—which was supposed to have stated its policy on genetic testing some months ago—to make its position clear. Currently, UK insurers have the right to ask for genetic data, but a ban has been introduced in Belgium, France, Norway, the Netherlands, and, most recently, the United States.

Professor Peter Harper, professor of medical genetics at the University of Wales College of Medicine, told the meeting “Human genetics—uncertainties and the financial implications ahead” that the situation in the United Kingdom causes huge problems for some patients who find themselves uninsurable. “Many are reluctant to undergo screening …

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