Use & disclosure of genetic information without consent

In New South Wales, the Ministry of Health has drawn attention to a guideline regarding the use of genetic information and disclosure to genetic relatives. The guideline itself is published by the Information and Privacy Commission.

The guideline summary says that it allows genetic information to be used or disclosed by an organisation if the use
or disclosure is reasonably believed by the organisation to be necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety (whether or not the threat is imminent) of a genetic relative of the individual to whom the genetic information relates.

A genetic relative is a person who is related to an individual by blood, for example, a sibling, parent or descendant of the individual.

The guideline is said not to apply to disclosure regarding an unborn child.

Source: DLA Piper Health Alert newsletter 3 November 2014.

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