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ABI axes four gene tests after criticism

The ABI has removed four genetic tests from its code of practice in a move that opponents to testing see as a climb-down in the face of increased public pressure.

In an internal memo to members, it has advised life offices to stop using the results of four tests that were previously on its approved list.

The tests are for cancer of the colon, muscular dystrophy, pancreatic tumours and motor neuron disease.

The ABI has also told members they must re-underwrite any cases where the use of these tests have resulted in an unfavourable decision against a client.

Only the test for Huntington&#39s disease has received Government approval so far. Tests for Alzheimer&#39s disease and some forms of breast and ovarian cancer are still awaiting approval.

MPs recently reacted angrily to news that the ABI had sanctioned the use of these tests without receiving approval from the Parliamentary science and technology committee.

Virgin Direct spokesman Andrew Stronach says: “It would be a natural suspicion that the select committee hearing led to this about-turn by the ABI. The insurance industry has been rushing in with obscene haste to use genetic test results.”

An ABI spokeswoman says: “Given the limited relevance of these tests, there did not seem much point in continuing to use them. We have written to members and told them to go back and reimburse anyone who has been treated unfavourably because of these tests.”

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