WMA To Support Icelandic Doctors On Fight Against Bill

The World Medical Association has agreed to support the Icelandic Medical Association in its fight against an Icelandic Government bill to establish a central health database for the entire population of Iceland.

The General Assembly agreed to a request that the WMA secretary general, Dr Delon Human, should assist the Icelandic Medical Association in seeking to clarify with the Icelandic Government the incalculable ethical consequences of the data collection Bill.

Dr Torben Pedersen, president of the Danish Medical Association, told the WMA meeting that the proposed data on patient information would be financed and organised by a private licensee, possibly a pharmaceutical company, in return for which the licensee would have a monopoly on the data for research purposes. The database would contain all accessible information on patients from the Icelandic health system over the past two or three decades.

He said the ethical risks of this proposal included other researchers being denied access to the data, the possibility of carrying out a complete DNA registration of the entire Icelandic population and the risk of individual patient information being identifiable, thus stigmatising families and isolated population groups.