HC Deb 20 March 1996 vol 274 c197W
Mr. Alton

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to legislate for total genetic privacy; what studies he has made of American statutes to safeguard genetic read-outs and their applicability in the United Kingdom; what measures he proposes in respect of the insurance implications of genetic testing; and if he will make a statement. [21649]

Mr. Ian Taylor

Government policy on genetic privacy and the insurance implications of genetic testing were set out in Cm 3061, published on 10 January 1996. This responded to the Select Committee on Science and Technology's report on "Human Genetics: the Science and its Consequences", Session 1994–95, No. 41. Copies of both documents are available in the Library of the House.

The Government's response took account of developments overseas. As a result of differences in its basic health care system, however, direct parallels with the United States are difficult to draw.

In the light of further discussions with the Select Committee, the Government have said that they will consider whether there is a need for an additional trans-departmental mechanism to look at broader issues raised by human genetics. I have also met representatives of the Association of British Insurers to urge that their dialogue with geneticists and other interested parties continues in as open a manner as possible.