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MPs criticise ABI&#39s role on genetics committee

A prominent Parliamentary committee is calling for a two-year moratorium on genetic tests by insurance companies.

The science and technology committee, chaired by Tory MP Dr Michael Clark, issued its much anticipated report this week, saying there are serious concerns about the use of any test by the industry not expressly approved by the Government&#39s genetics and insurance committee.

It criticises the ABI, saying it is an inappropriate body to regulate the use of tests by members and says it is a conflict of interest for a geneticist from the ABI to sit on the committee deciding what tests will be used.

The only test approved by the GAIC is for Huntington&#39s disease. The report says the committee membership should be reformed and the decision reviewed.

The insurance industry is criticised for not giving clear information to policyholders. It says time should be taken to examine the relevance and accuracy of the tests rather than rushing ahead with their use.

ABI director general Mary Francis says: “The industry will consider the report carefully. We recognise how much public concern there is about how genetic information is used.”

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