Patient Privacy: Always a Priority

Patient Privacy: Always a Priority

01.23.13 | By Stephanie Fischer

[caption id="attachment_5679" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="courtesy of the U.S. National Institutes of Health"][/caption]

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new final rule to increase patient privacy protections, provide patients with access to their health information and strengthen the government's ability to enforce patient privacy laws.

For biopharmaceutical companies, protecting patient privacy is a priority long before a medicine is available at the pharmacy or in the hospital.

PhRMA member companies take great care to respect and protect the individual privacy of patients who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, a critical component of the drug discovery process. Clinical trials are carefully controlled tests of new medicines in people to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. They are necessary to compile the evidence required by the FDA and other regulators around the world to approve new treatments for commercialization.

Clinical trials involve the participation of thousands of volunteer patients and the generation of thousands of pages of scientific, medical and technical data. Throughout the clinical trial process, biopharmaceutical companies are careful to safeguard the identity of individual participants.

Patient confidentiality does not end with a clinical trial, regardless of whether a potential medicine is approved or not. Biopharmaceutical companies recognize the important public health benefits associated with making appropriate clinical trial information available to healthcare practitioners, patients and the public. This can be accomplished through the timely submission and registration of all clinical trials involving patients on the NIH's clinical trial database as well as the reporting of results at scientific meetings and in medical journals as clinical trials advance - all done while safeguarding the privacy of the clinical trial participants.

Learn more about clinical trials and the biopharmaceutical industry's commitment to patient privacy at http://phrma.org/research/clinical-research-trials.

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