Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, January 1998; 9:(1-2)
The Task Force on health Records and Genetic Privacy, established in 1997 by the Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, held its first meeting on July 22 in Washington, D.C. cochaired by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and gene Green (D-TX), the eight-member bipartisan task force is considering the following issues as a prelude to establishing policy:
The July meeting took the format of a congressional hearing and lasted for 3.5 hours, with testimony by 12 witnesses. These witnesses and members of several panels emphasized the importance of addressing genetic privacy within the context of all carefully protected medical records. Some argued for more awareness of the impact of policy decisions on research and against legislation that permits retrospective destruction of DNA samples or records. One panel consisted of representatives of the health-insurance and pharmaceutical and biotechnological research industries. These speakers generally supported legislation to protect individuals from genetic discrimination and opposed efforts to separate genetic information from other medical records. They also favored broad medical-record confidentiality that protects medical research, has different standards for nonidentifiable data, and contains appropriate informed consent.
A second meeting of the task force is planned for early in 1998. [Information contact: Rep. Stearns' office (202/225-5744, Fax: -3973)]
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