Problems Emerge with DNA Testing
Science of DNA Testing is facing a dire challenge. And its fight for survival is not to be fought in research labs but on the bristling arena of politics. When it arrived, the new science presented a great leap in preventive medicare by helping you to know whether you are genetically predisposed to contracting a disease that runs in your family. It became the new tool that could prevent and fight disease from a totally new level.
For any disease, treatment at the early stages is hundred-fold easier and more effective than in advanced stages. Sometimes, finding out early can even mean the difference between life and death. It is in this context that the new science can fundamentally change how we look at disease – from something to be treated to something that we can prevent us from EVER troubling us. A paradigm shift is inevitable whenever the new practice becomes wide spread in its use.
But this optimism has been replaced by a worry springing from the financial and social implications that it might unleash on society. The scientific community is dismayed that more and more people are shying away from taking the test. These people fear the financial repercussions when the testing is done on the public domain.
It might hurt them financially if results are publicly known. It would translate to higher insurance premiums when the insurance company elevates the risk category of individuals based on their test results. Even though presently insurance companies avow that they will not make this a practice, but logically that is what they ought to be doing if they have to survive.
There could be misuse on the side of customers too. Hiding a genetic tendency to acquire a disease, someone can take a policy without declaring this risk. Sooner than later the insurance companies are going to make a noise about such misuse.
People are also putting off testing because it might show up in their medical records. This leaves them exposed to discrimination in the job environment. Employers would definitely prefer people who are healthier today and also are likely to remain healthy in the future to those who have declared health risks. This will make it difficult for them to be gainfully employed.
A bill for protecting citizens from such discrimination has been overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives. But, the issue is far from being resolved. It has yet to be passed by the Senate. And it is expected that legitimate commercial concerns are sure to weigh-in and cause the script to change in their favor.