Thursday, August 2, 2012

NHS patients data to be sold to pharma firms


Millions of people’s medical records are to be sold off to pharmaceutical firms to help them develop new drugs to tackle conditions such as dementia.

David Cameron yesterday announced plans to change the NHS Constitution to allow patients’ data to be released for research.

The details will be anonymous, meaning researchers should not be able to link what they receive to individual members of the public, and patients will also be able to opt out.

But civil liberties campaigners warned that the material could end up being abused.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘Once the floodgates are opened it will be a matter of time before data is re-identified and used for other purposes.’ 

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