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Genetic Discrimination Bill Closer To Passing August 25, 2011

Posted by Metabiological in Transhumanism.
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Little late on this one but worth re-posting nonetheless.

The California State Senate has passed a bill that would provide broader protections from genetic discrimination than does the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, by extending into areas such as life insurance, housing, and employment.

Following closely after the State Assembly, which approved the bill late last week, the Senate passed State Sen. Alex Padilla’s (D – Pacoima) SB 559 bill on a (24 – 10) vote.

If it is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would amend two anti-discrimination laws already on the California books to prohibit genetic discrimination in the areas of health and life insurance coverage, housing, mortgage lending, employment, education, public accommodations, and elections.

A good bill and one that will likely become important in ways it’s backers haven’t even thought about in the near future.  The legislators obviously are thinking of issues like preventing health insurance companies from labeling genetic problems a “pre-existing condition” or employers discriminating based on genomic data a la Gattaca.

That being said I do wonder what effect this will have once genetic engineering starts to become more common place.  I haven’t read the bill and I’m not a lawyer so I can’t say that it isn’t worded in such a way to consider “modifications” to genetic code an exception to the rule.  I certainly hope not.


Tell The FDA: Support Personal Genomics April 30, 2011

Posted by Metabiological in Longevity, Transhumanism.
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For those that don’t know the FDA is currently considering regulating the nascent personal genomics industry.  Composed of star-ups like 23andme the industry is at the forefront of the personalized medicine revolution.  The idea currently is to take a look at a person’s genetic code for any predispositions to known ailments but the potential is obviously far greater.  Unfortunately the FDA is currently in the midst of determining the extent of regulations over this still burgeoning field.

Now I’m not the type of person who reflexively hates any attempt to impose regulation on the free market (quite the opposite actually) but in this case I stand against the government.  It still unclear what form the regulations would take but it seems that they would involve restricting how a person could access the information they receive, likely requiring them to go through a clinician.  On the surface this doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that the medical industry is completely unprepared to deal with this, that it would raise prices at a crucial point to the industry and, most importantly, there is no real point to it.  There is no evidence that giving people access to this sort of information possess any risk (and if someone can show otherwise I’ll eat my hat).

If you want to tell the FDA what you think then you only have a little time left.  Go to their website and let them know that this sort of action is exactly the wrong thing to do at this point in time.