Human Genetics Alert

Unit 112 Aberdeen House 22-24 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EA
Phone: 020 7704 6100 fax: 020 7359 8423 



For immediate Release

HGA says genetic discrimination must be banned now

Human Genetics Alert (HGA; note 1) today called for an immediate permanent ban on the use of genetic test results by insurers. The partial moratorium announced today by the government and insurance companies is part of an ongoing attempt by insurers to avoid external regulation: the moratorium is to be self-policed by the Association of British Insurers, which does not even cover all insurance companies.

HGA Coordinator, Dr David King, said: "People should not be fooled by this apparent concession by insurers. Genetic discrimination is wrong in principle and should be banned immediately. International treaties (2) require this, and many other countries and US states have done so, so why can't Britain?

"Allowing the use of such tests by insurers is bound to lead to many people becoming uninsurable, and to an increasingly stratified insurance market. It runs contrary to the social values that most people in Britain hold dear, which is why the vast majority of people oppose it. Apart from the government's desire not to antagonize the insurance industry, there is no reason to hold back from a ban."

For more information contact Dr David King on 020 7704 6100.

Notes for editors

1. Human Genetics Alert is an independent watchdog group.

2. The UNESCO Declaration on the Human Genome, the Council Of Europe Convention on Biomedicine and Human Rights, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights all state that discrimination on the basis of a person's genetic characteristics is unacceptable.