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MPs attack sale of patient data to pharma

MPs have attacked proposals for the NHS to sell access to patient records to drug companies.

Following its inquiry into the electronic patient record, members of the health select committee condemned the plans, arguing it was ‘an issue of ethics'.

In its written submission to the health select committee's inquiry, Connecting for Health's subcontractor BT suggested pseudonymised patient data could be shared with pharmaceutical company researchers to earn the NHS cash.

‘Making the aggregated data available to pharmaceutical companies would not only assist R&D but would provide the NHS with a substantial income source,' it said, adding that it ‘could be achieved without compromising confidentiality'.

But Kevin Barron, Labour MP and health select committee chair, told Pulse: ‘If you're saying could the NHS sell this information on for profit, then my instinct is no, it shouldn't. There's an issue of ethics here.'

Other members of the select committee, including Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and independent MP Dr Richard Taylor, also said they did not believe patient data should be sold.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator, said he was ‘very alarmed' by the proposals.

‘If the care record is in any way linked to the NHS getting funded, it undermines the trust and credibility that need to be integral to any form of electronic health record.'

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