Consumer group decries proposed sale of medical records

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Concerns about privacy and medical records raisedConsumer Watchdog has raised a number of privacy concerns regarding how electronic medical records, when introduced, will be able to be used.

The group has sent a letter to Congress commenting on reported actions by Google to weaken the ban on the sale of these records, among other issues.

Google reportedly hopes to sell patients’ medical information to advertisers on its new health database, the watchdog claims.

According to Congressional Watchdog, Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri has also added an amendment to the House version of the bill that permits pharmacists to sell Americans’ health data without people’s permission.

The group also objects to an amendment allowing firms to sell data for research purposes, which it suggests could lead to pharmaceutical companies and insurers exploiting this information.

"First and foremost, electronic medical records should be designed to benefit patients, not the corporate interests lobbying hard on Capitol Hill to get a piece of the $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies provided for this project," the letter states.

President Obama has pledged to introduce electronic medical records to improve communication within the health system. However, many questions remain about how to best protect patients’ privacy.
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Personal Liberty News Desk

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