XML Feed for RxPG News   Add RxPG News Headlines to My Yahoo!   Javascript Syndication for RxPG News

Research Health World General
 
  Home
 
   Health
 Aging
 Asian Health
 Events
 Fitness
 Food & Nutrition
 Happiness
 Men's Health
 Mental Health
 Occupational Health
 Parenting
 Public Health
 Sleep Hygiene
 Women's Health
 
   Healthcare
 Africa
 Australia
 Canada Healthcare
 China Healthcare
 India Healthcare
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 UK
 USA
 World Healthcare
 
   Latest Research
 Aging
 Alternative Medicine
 Anaethesia
 Biochemistry
 Biotechnology
 Cancer
 Cardiology
 Clinical Trials
 Cytology
 Dental
 Dermatology
 Embryology
 Endocrinology
 ENT
 Environment
 Epidemiology
 Gastroenterology
 Genetics
 Gynaecology
 Haematology
 Immunology
 Infectious Diseases
 Medicine
 Metabolism
 Microbiology
 Musculoskeletal
 Nephrology
 Neurosciences
 Obstetrics
 Ophthalmology
 Orthopedics
 Paediatrics
 Pathology
 Pharmacology
 Physiology
 Physiotherapy
 Psychiatry
 Radiology
 Rheumatology
 Sports Medicine
 Surgery
 Toxicology
 Urology
 
   Medical News
 Awards & Prizes
 Epidemics
 Launch
 Opinion
 Professionals
 
   Special Topics
 Ethics
 Euthanasia
 Evolution
 Feature
 Odd Medical News
 Climate
Search

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2006 - 1:55:25 PM

Ethics Channel
subscribe to Ethics newsletter

Special Topics : Ethics

   DISCUSS   |   EMAIL   |   PRINT
Current interpretation of the data protection law is hampering epidemiological research
Jan 20, 2006 - 3:22:00 PM, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

“We are not arguing that epidemiological research should always proceed without consent. But it should be allowed to do so when the privacy interference is proportionate. Regulators and researchers need to improve their ability to recognise these situations and adjust their approach.”

 
Overly strict interpretation of the data protection law is hampering epidemiological research (the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations), argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

The UK Data Protection Act 1998 is intended to accommodate medical research. The law allows personal information to be used and disclosed without explicit consent, subject to certain safeguards, when it is impractical to obtain consent and an important public interest is at stake.

Despite this, some data controllers continue to interpret the law in a restrictive way, write the authors.

They describe how such interpretation of the law currently threatens a planned study of UK military personnel who served in Bosnia so much that if it were to proceed, the results are likely to be too small and biased to reach useful conclusions.

They argue that adverse events or detriment from participation in epidemiological research are extremely rare and they call for a less rigid policy towards data sharing in this type of research.

“We are not arguing that epidemiological research should always proceed without consent. But it should be allowed to do so when the privacy interference is proportionate,” they write. “Regulators and researchers need to improve their ability to recognise these situations and adjust their approach.”

“With over 250 studies granted access to information without consent, the real issue is not that few studies have been given support to do this, but the stringency of the criteria for support,” argues Peter Goldblatt of the Office for National Statistics. “What is needed to achieve a consensus on this issue is further evidence on when the effort and impact of seeking consent undermines the public interest in good quality research.”

“We have an ethical responsibility to facilitate and not hinder research for the ultimate benefit of our patients,” adds a senior doctor in an accompanying editorial. “We have to strike a balance between rights of the individual to privacy and needs of the community to answer important medical questions, and existing legislation allows that.”

A new Academy of Medical Science report, which argues strongly for a clearer framework to deal with the use of personal health data in research, should be essential reading for data controllers and researchers, and will surely prompt more debate, he concludes.
 

- British Medical Journal, 21 January 2006 (Vol 332, No 7534)
 

Read the article at bmj.com

 
Subscribe to Ethics Newsletter
E-mail Address:

 

Consent, confidentiality, and the Data Protection Act
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/332/7534/165

Commentary: Evidence will help achieve consensus
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/332/7534/169

Editorial: Using personal health information in medical research
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/332/7534/130


Related Ethics News
Regulating stem cell research
Overcoming Ethical Constraints
Drug tests on animals may be unreliable: study
Waiting For Trial Results Sometimes Unethical
NHGRI Funds Assessment of Public Attitudes About Population-Based Studies on Genes and Environment
Physicians More Likely To Disclose Medical Errors That Would Be Apparent To The Patient
Doctors inadvertently help terminally ill patients to die sooner
Intellectual property law and the protection of traditional knowledge
Conscientious objection in medicine should not be tolerated
Yale guidelines for physician interactions with pharmaceutical industry


For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

Top of Page

 

© Copyright 2004 onwards by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited
Contact Us