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The Canadian Down Syndrome Society Responds to Current Class Action Law Suit Facing Sequenom

May 4, 2009

CALGARY – In financial terms, the sum total of the damage to those who invested in Sequenom is easily measured. There is, however, less of a provision to measure the consciousness of a company, who trades in tremendously powerful and important information. This class action law suit will provide a metric for measuring financial and investor accountability. There are however significantly fewer ways to measure ethical and moral accountability in this arena.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society works to ensure equitable opportunities for all Canadians with Down syndrome by fostering a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity, worth and equal rights for ALL people.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society asserts that prenatal screening and testing for the purposes of identifying Down syndrome is accompanied by numerous ethical concerns.

The CDSS asserts that to ensure fair, balanced and informed decisions with regards to prenatal screening and testing:

Physicians providing obstetric care must have a responsibility to ensure that women receive unbiased, accurate, current and value-neutral information regarding Down syndrome prior to presenting them with the choice to undergo screening or testing.

An appropriate period of time is provided to prospective parents between receiving information and making a decision whether or not to proceed with testing.

The decision whether to undergo screening or testing rests solely with the woman.

The role of the physician or medical practitioner is clearly understood to provide information, and never to influence a woman′s decision. If patients decline certain tests, physicians and other medical personnel should respect the individual′s wishes and not directly or indirectly pressure patients to undergo undesired screenings.

If a determination of Down syndrome occurs, the opportunity to meet a family that includes a person with Down syndrome should be facilitated by the acting health care practitioner.

We believe that the widespread use of genetic screening for the purpose of identification and termination of fetuses with Down syndrome may adversely affect the quality of life for all persons with Down syndrome and threatens the diversity and vitality that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities currently contribute to many Canadian communities.

We advocate that the primary goal of prenatal genetic testing should not be to reduce the birth prevalence of Down syndrome in the population but rather to provide opportunities to improve prenatal and delivery care for the mother and baby.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is a vital resource linking individuals, parents and professionals through advocacy, education and providing information. The mission of the CDSS is to ensure equitable opportunities for all Canadians with Down syndrome. This means, to make sure all Canadians with Down syndrome have the right supports to give them the same opportunities that everyone else has. Our vision is a proud Canada where ALL are welcome, we embrace diversity and we value everyone′s genes equally.

Press release announcing a class action suit against Sequenom:

May 1st Court Filing alleging that Sequenom violated the 1934 Securities Exchange Act:

Canadian Down Syndrome Society
811 - 14 Street N.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2N 2A4
Phone: (403) 270-8500
Toll-Free: 1-800-883-5608
Fax: (403) 270-8291

For more information contact:
Christy Thompson
Public Relations Manager
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Phone: 403-669-2832
Cell: 403-669-2832

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