BSGM support of ASHG response to new workplace
posted on Wednesday, 5th April 2017 | Not tagged.
The British Society for Genetic Medicine (BSGM) supports the recent stance taken by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in cautioning against the use of legislation that might place employees under pressure to undergo genetic testing or to disclose the results of any such testing to their employers.
Genetic testing can have a valuable role in health care in certain situations, for example, by identifying individuals at risk of inherited conditions, or reassuring individuals that they have not inherited a condition that has affected other family members. Such testing can suggest appropriate surveillance or treatment for individuals at increased risk. The BSGM therefore opposes legislative changes that might dissuade individuals from undergoing appropriate testing through fear that this information may be used to discriminate against them, including through increased premiums or denying access to insurance.
On the other hand, many genetic tests will not predict future ill health accurately, and mandating such tests as part of, for example, a pre-employment check, could lead to discrimination if the results are given more credibility than there is evidence for.
BSGM believes that genetic testing to predict future ill health should only be undertaken where individuals receive appropriate support and information and are free to choose without fear of previous result disclosure, or new testing, being used to decide insurance premiums or to discriminate against them in any other form.