IBM's Smart Stance on Genetic Testing

Publication: BusinessWeek

Author: Amy Barrett


10/11/2005 - Big Blue is the first major corporation to rule out DNA scans for employees. More than an ethical issue, the decision is also good business.

There's no doubt: IBM is way out in front on genetic privacy. On Oct. 10, IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano sent a memo to employees announcing the company was revising its policies to prevent the use of genetic information in making personnel decisions. Big Blue's move prompts the question: Is a flood of gene-based health data about workers available right now?

Not exactly. Certainly, tests exist that can evaluate the risk of developing certain diseases. Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics & Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, says 800-or-so genetic tests are available, including those for certain neurodegenerative diseases and to determine the risk of developing certain cancers.

Read the rest of the article on the BusinessWeek site--IBM's Smart Stance on Genetic Testing.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Genetics & Public Policy Center Web site or visit the Genetics and Public Policy Centeron PewHealth.org.  

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