In Germany, pre-natal non-invasive screening for Down syndrome (NIPS) has been offered by the pharmaceutical company, Lifecodexx, since 2012 (seeMarket launch of new Down syndrome screening test in four European countries). The issue of reimbursement through medical insurance has been debated for two years. A report by the Joint Federal Committee comprising doctors, dentists, psychotherapists, hospitals and medical insurance companies is expected in the autumn, and could end discussions.
In 2012, the test cost €1,000 compared to the current price of €299. Over 50 percent of German medical insurance companies “appear to have already reimbursed patients on a case-by-case basis”, in this country where “three-quarters of pregnant women are over 35 years of age and are deemed at risk”. For advocates of this approach, reimbursement is a matter of “social justice”.
However, this does not reflect the general consensus. Christian Democrat MP, Hubert Hüpe is concerned that, “If this test is reimbursed, women will be under immense social pressure to take it”. “This blood test is then at risk of becoming a standardised and trivialised procedure. The consequences are nothing less than the death of a child at an early stage”, explained Axel W. Bauer, in turn. In fact, statistics suggest that, “90% of women would opt for an abortion in the event of Down syndrome”. The former member of the Ethics Committee pointed out that, “In the light of this, there are increasingly fewer Down syndrome children in Germany”.
La Croix, Delphine Nerbollier (27/06/2017)