Big Brother Watch’s comment on handover of 180,000 cancer patient records to tobacco industry-linked firm

Commenting on the news: “Medical records of thousands of patients were handed to US firms connected to tobacco industry by British health officials, Telegraph probe reveals

Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:

“It is appalling that Public Health England has given away 180,000 cancer patients’ confidential information to a commercial firm. That a UK public authority has given records to a non-medical, corporate outfit paid by the tobacco industry – the very cause of many of those patients’ disease – on the pretence of ‘medical purposes’ is unacceptable.

“This release of such sensitive data could only increase patients’ suffering and many of those affected are rightly outraged.

“Big Brother Watch fully supports calls for an inquiry by the Health Select Committee. This Government needs to understand the importance of data protection and consent in today’s world. It makes absolutely no sense that cancer patients lack consent over their medical records. Unfortunately, the new Data Protection Bill currently going through Parliament contains so many flaws and loopholes that it appears they are still not getting the message.”