The use of genetic test information in insurance: The argument from indistinguishability reconsidered

Science and Engineering Ethics 6 (3):299-310 (2000)
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In the bioethical literature, discrimination in insurance on the basis of genetic risk factors detected by genetic testing has been defended and opposed on various ethical grounds. One important argument in favour of the practice is offered by those who believe that it is not possible to distinguish between genetic and non-genetic information, at least not for practical policy purposes such as insurance decision-making. According to the argument from indistinguishability, the use of genetic test information for insurance purposes should be permitted, because genetic test information is no different from non-genetic medical information in any relevant respect, therefore it would be inconsistent to prohibit the former whilst permitting the latter. This paper discusses and defends this argument and suggests a new, more tenable foundation.



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Viekko Launis
University of Turku

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