On September 28, 2005, National Human Genome Research Institute Director Dr. Francis S. Collins participated in a luncheon briefing hosted by the Personalized Medicine Coalition on Capitol Hill. The luncheon featured comments on genetic discrimination by Dr. Collins and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The briefing focused on the latest medical developments related to the advent of personalized medicine and the new technology advances in this area. Dr. Collins provided an overview of the promise of personalized medicine, emphasizing the negative impact on medical progress due to the fear of genetic discrimination. He described a widespread, public fear that employers and health insurance organizations might use genome analysis to discriminate against those who carry genetic mutations that could pre-dispose them to disease.
Dr. Collins said this public fear of genetic discrimination has had a negative impact on research that involves collecting DNA samples from the public, research that is conducted at the National Institutes of Health.
House Speaker Gingrich spoke about the need for federal protections for Americans from genetic discrimination. House Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Bob Ney (R-OH), co-sponsors of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 1227 [thomas.loc.gov], also attended and gave brief remarks.
Last Reviewed: February 19, 2012