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Critics Say PM’s Data-Sharing Plan Contains Risks

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—UK

December 5, 2011

Plans by Britain's prime minister to allow pharmaceutical companies access to anonymous patient data are drawing criticism that commercial interests are coming before privacy concerns, BBC News reports. Prime Minister David Cameron hopes that by anonymizing NHS records and then allowing private firms access, medical breakthroughs and treatment options may proliferate. Advocates including Patient Concern and Big Brother Watch are skeptical that data will remain anonymous. Patient Concern says the data can be traced back to the individuals concerned and that patient consent should be required before records are shared. The proposal is to take effect December 14. 
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