Genetic exceptionalism is the belief that genetic information is special and must therefore be treated differently from other types of medical information.
For example, patients are able to obtain information about their blood pressure without involving any medical professionals, but obtaining information about their genetic profile might require an order from a physician and expensive counseling sessions. Disclosure of an individual's genetic information or its meaning—for example, telling a woman with red hair that she has a higher risk of skin cancer—has been legally restricted in some places as providing medical advice.
This policy approach has been taken by state legislatures to safeguard individuals' genetic information in the United States from the individuals, their families, their employers, and the government. The approach builds upon the existing protection required of general health information provided by such regulations as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Ray, Turna. 18 August 2010. UC Berkeley Halts Genetic Testing Program, but Touts Opportunity for Ethical Debate Pharmacogenomics Reporter.