France needs to clarify how important genetic information is passed to patients’ relatives, agency says

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 17 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2610
  1. Paul Benkimoun
  1. 1Paris

    France’s Biomedicine Agency has called for the government to draw up guidance on giving genetic information to relatives after a patient has been given a diagnosis of a serious genetic abnormality.

    The regulatory agency, which was set up under the 2004 Bioethics Act, was presenting evidence to an inquiry to review the working of the act. The inquiry was established at the request of the French health minister, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin.

    Although the agency concluded that overall the act was working well, it expressed regret that the government had not yet drawn up practical guidance to implement one section of it relating to the question of how information can be passed to relatives of someone with a genetic disorder without a doctor breaching the patient’s confidentiality.

    The act says that when a severe genetic abnormality is diagnosed, the doctor must give the patient a written summary of …

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