At least 15 of the hundreds of hospital centres of Belgium was selling confidential data of their patients, the company Quintiles IMS, processing of medical information, reported Friday by the newspaper Le Soir.
According to the newspaper, Quintiles IMS pays 22 euros per bed per year to get information about treatments and medications used, as well as the cost of services.
The purpose of this information gathering, study and analysis of the practices of the respective hospitals to identify the most successful. On the one hand, according to Le Soir, the following conclusions are useful to physicians may better and cheaper to treat. On the other – this is extremely important information for pharmaceutical firms and manufacturers of medical equipment that complements their marketing. Therefore, Quintiles IMS intends to sell the results of treatment of these patients.
The publication notes that this raises the question of the legality of such receipt of data . The newspaper writes that personal medical data are classified as “sensitive data”, the possession, processing and exchange shall be declared by the Commission on the protection of privacy.
The contracts, which managed to see Le Soir, Quintiles IMS announces its obligations to respect the law on the protection of privacy. But, at the same time, the text contains an indication that the processing of the received information “is impossible on the basis of anonymous data.”
In response to a request from the newspaper to clarify the reservation firm were limited to the message that “takes very seriously the privacy of patients and undertakes to respect the laws and regulations of the countries” in which it operates.
Service representative medical insurance Jean Armes condemned the expanding “commercialization” of health data. In his opinion, which leads to Le Soir, “red line” in this issue crossed, and it requires strict regulation of the transmission of such information.
“It is necessary that the data was strictly anonymous and that their transfer was solely for projects aimed at improving health and combating the abuse of antibiotics, not commercialism,” – said Zh Armes.