Worse yet, the very concept [of insurance based on genetics] threatens to undermine another of the greatest potential benefits of the genome: personalized medicine. The goal of personalized medicine is to tailor treatments to a the unique genetic defects that have helped foster a disease, be it diabetes or cancer. But, if insurers can deny coverage based on those same genetic traits, the patient may never see the treatment.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
In the age of the personal genome, companies like 23andMe are springing up, offering personal genetic profiling and ancestry tracing. While there are questions about the accuracy of their claims, the interpretation of the results (are we about to see a boom in genetic counsellors?) and other ethical and privacy considerations, the US Senate has made a pro-active move in passing a bill banning genetic discrimination. In short, the bill prohibits employers or insurers to use personal genetic information in decision making. Ars technica takes a closer look at the insurance angle, explaining why the bill is a good idea. From the article: