More people comfortable sharing health data with pharma companies since COVID-19 outbreak

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13th August 2020 14:07 - Pharmaceutical

More people comfortable sharing health data with pharma companies since COVID-19 outbreak: A survey asking the UK general public about their comfort levels when it comes to sharing their personal health data has found that more people are comfortable sharing information with pharmaceutical companies now, than they were pre-covid.

The research by MHP Health polled more than 2,000 members of the public between 19th and 21st June 2020, asking them about their opinions around sharing health data and whether their attitudes have changed as a result of coronavirus.

When asked about different organisations, 41% of respondents said they feel comfortable in sharing their health data with pharma companies, ranking second behind NHS bodies (60%). Just over two-fifths said they feel comfortable sharing health data with diagnostic companies (41%), followed by the government (39%), academic institutions (36%) and health tech startups (32%). Charities and big tech companies ranked lowest with 29% and 25% respectively.

Asking respondents whether their opinion has changed since the pandemic began, just over a quarter said they are more comfortable sharing their health data with pharmaceutical companies since the onset of COVID-19 (26%), while 13% said they are less comfortable. Almost half (49%) said their opinion is unchanged. Similarly, 25% of people said they feel more comfortable sharing their health data with diagnostic companies in light of the pandemic - with just 14% saying they feel less comfortable. Just under half those polled (47%) said their opinion has remained unchanged. 

The highest ranking reason for people feeling comfortable with sharing health data was if it was being used for  'improving NHS structures and services', with 59% saying they feel comfortable. This was followed by ‘for developing new treatments or vaccines’ (57%) 'for clinical research' (54%),  clinical research (54%), developing digital tools and apps for patient support (48%) and informing the Government's lockdown strategy (44%).

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