Intended for healthcare professionals


Sharing of patient data didn’t breach rules, says public health agency

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 22 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k293
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

Public Health England has criticised media reports that it handed over the medical records of thousands of patients with cancer to a firm working for the tobacco multinational Philip Morris International, saying that newspapers had presented a “very distorted view of the facts.”

The Telegraph reported on 14 January that anonymised data covering 179 040 lung tumours diagnosed between 2009 and 2013 in England were given to William E Wecker Associates without the consent of any of the patients concerned or their families.1 The company has testified on behalf of tobacco companies in dozens of lawsuits. The report was then picked up by other newspapers, including the Daily Mail, Sun, Independent, and Daily Express.

Public Health England said that any data were completely anonymised and that its action was fully in line with guidance …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription