British patient data made public a concern

Dec. 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the British prime minister's plan to share patient data with the public sector is a "real cause for concern."

Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain has the potential to be a powerhouse in the life sciences industry, paving the way for state-of-the-art medical treatments, but is hindered by excessive regulation, The Daily Telegraph of London reported Sunday.

"We want to see much closer collaboration between the [National Health Service] and life science companies -- not just greater data-sharing, but more clinical trials in hospitals," said an anonymous Downing Street source.

"These changes will not only boost the industry, but also potentially give the NHS early access to new, innovative drugs treatments."

The move would give life science companies better ability to run patient trials in hospitals, but Burnham says he has some concerns.

"That gives real cause for concern and rings alarm bells" he said. "The government simply can't say: 'This is all red tape and it all must be brushed away.' Proper regulation, essential safeguards need to be in place when it comes to the use of patient data."

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