Stringent constraints on use of patients' data are harming research

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 29 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1114
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    Bodies that oversee medical research are harming public health by imposing constraints on the use of patients' data that go further than the law demands, doctors were told at a meeting last week organised by the cardiothoracic section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

    Charles Warlow, professor of medical neurology at Edinburgh University, quoted David Smith, deputy information commissioner at the UK Information Commissioner's Office, as saying that the Data Protection Act did not necessarily require consent for the use of health information in medical research. Mr Smith had also approved comments by the medical law expert Philip Havers QC that “researchers should be bolder,” Professor Warlow said.

    Mr Havers had said at a symposium in 2006: “The courts are likely to …

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