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Guest post from Ryan Phelan, DNA...

Posted Aug 24 2008 4:55pm

Guest post from Ryan Phelan, DNA Direct’s CEO and founder:

With President Bush signing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) into law today, this marks the first civil rights legislation to pass in the 21st century!

From the time I started DNA Direct , we have had people seek us out to order genetic testing because of their concern with privacy issues around genetic testing. I’m reminded in particular of a young woman who chose to test with DNA Direct because of her significant family history of a blood clotting disorder, and yet did not want this type of personal medical history in her medical record. When she tested positive with us for a blood clotting disorder, we encouraged her to talk with her personal physician (as we do with all our customers) and it saddened and concerned me that she felt so fearful to do so. I am pleased to say that once GINA has been put into effect (approximately 1 year), this woman and others like her will be able to feel much more secure that their genetic information will not be used against them to deny them health insurance.

This legislation, more than a decade in the making, prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual, or charging that person higher premiums, based on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future. GINA also bars employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.

While GINA doesn’t address medical privacy across the board, it does represent an important step forward for the cutting-edge field of molecular diagnostics and the promise of personalized medicine.

At DNA Direct, we believe GINA will create better protection for consumers, generate more awareness around the benefits of genetic testing, and therefore increase overall access to testing for everyone. We’re looking forward to seeing important developments in personalized medicine that will doubtless follow this important event!

Hats off to our friends at the Genetic Alliance who worked so hard to push GINA forward and to the countless other advocacy organizations and industry leaders who helped bring awareness and support for GINA.

Ryan Phelan

Founder & CEO

DNA Direct

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