NASSCOM calls for police enquiry into the illegal sale of medical records
October 21, 2009
NASSCOM has called for a speedy police enquiry into the case of alleged illegal sale of private medical records through IT companies in India. The case was busted in a sting operation by a British television news channel.
“It is vital that medical records and other sensitive data are kept secure and confidential. There can be absolutely no compromise on this point. The Tonight programme has highlighted a case in which it seems that some data from the London Clinic has fallen into criminal hands. We are calling for a speedy police inquiry and for robust sanctions to be taken against any criminal,” said a statement released by NASSCOM on the issue.
“Given the scale of movement of data in the globalised world, incidents such as what has happened are stray incidents that are not reflective of the industry as a whole. Security is and will remain our number one priority. India has established an excellent international reputation and we will not allow this to be compromised at any cost,” the statement further said.
As per the findings of the sting operation, medical records sent for computerisation to Indian IT companies were sold illegally in the black market. The files were sold by two men who claimed to have gained access to the information from IT companies. Thousands of medical files from top private hospitals in Britain are outsourced for computerisation to India every year.
A number of these files, which contain personal details of the patient’s health, name age and address are for sale in the black market, for prices as low as $4 each. The two men caught on camera involved in the black marketing, claim to have access to thousand more such files.
The documentary says there is a market for the records because unscrupulous companies want to sell insurance and prescription drugs to vulnerable patients. The news presenters for that particular sting operation too had approached the two salesmen, as marketing executives for health products