Feeds

Senate outlaws genetic discrimination

Gattaca UK

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The US Senate has unanimously voted in favour of a bill to ban genetic discrimination by insurance companies and employers in a bid to speed up research on inherited diseases.

Senators backed the bill 95 to none in a ballot yesterday.

It's not the first time Congress has tried to ban DNA discrimination, and the bill still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives. Business lobbyists have warned that new laws could prompt a flood of lawsuits.

Veteran democrat Ted Kennedy, meanwhile, has described the legislation as "the first major new civil rights bill of the new century".

It's hoped that forbidding insurance companies to discriminate on genetic grounds will help foster greater participation in research. Campaigners for the laws argue that consumers fear their DNA being obtained by big business and used against them, which has hamstrung efforts to develop therapies for inherited diseases.

Dr Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health - the US equivalent of the Medical Research Council - welcomed the news, AP reports.

"A system that allows that information to be used to deny people health care or a job is a system that has lost its way," he said. "This is a civil rights issue and it's high time we took care of it."

Earlier efforts to bring in laws have been blocked by procedural difficulties in Congress and arguments over lawsuit fears in business. A deal struck last week saw the new bill amended to discourage too many claims. It makes it clear that insurance companies are still able to discriminate on the basis of the presence of disease, even if it is inherited.

Sponsors of the bill in the House of Representatives said they expect to win approval this time, as soon as possible.

The UK has no laws against genetic discrimination. Insurance companies have voluntarily signed a moratorium until 2011. More here, from Genewatch UK. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.