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Pfizer wants access to information, and there's nothing wrong with that - Walla! Business

2021-01-20T12:20:01.707Z

The reports that Pfizer will have access to information about the vaccinated have given rise to a feeling that the State of Israel has sold us to the devil, but in the medical world such deals are not only acceptable - they can also save lives. Adv. Lior Etgar explains why you can sleep peacefully



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Pfizer wants access to information, and there is nothing wrong with that

The reports that Pfizer will have access to information about the vaccinated have given rise to a feeling that the State of Israel has sold us to the devil, but in the medical world such deals are not only acceptable - they can also save lives.

Adv. Lior Etgar explains why you can sleep peacefully

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Adv. Lior Etgar

Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 2:05 p.m.

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In recent days, there has been increasing criticism regarding the sharing of information about Israeli vaccinators with Pfizer.

However, after the revelation of the agreement between the Ministry of Health and Pfizer, it is clear that this is an accepted practice in the worlds of medical research, which is simply exposed to the general public who are unaware of it.

It should be noted that the provisions of the agreement protect the privacy of Israeli citizens in a proper manner.



As part of the disclosure of the agreement, parts of it were blacked out and it was claimed that these were significant parts.

A review of it shows that this is a blackening of clauses concerning the resolution of disputes, intellectual property arrangements, personal data of Pfizer managers and the date of signing the initial agreement for the purchase of the vaccines.

Precisely in the area of ​​the use of the data, the blackouts were not carried out (with the exception of one sentence in the cooperation section) and it is evident that sufficient disclosure was given regarding the sharing of information and its uses.



According to the agreement with Pfizer, the state must pass on epidemiological information about the vaccinated, for the purpose of research and development of the vaccine.

Among other things, data will be transmitted on verified cases, deaths, demographics of vaccinators, etc. ).

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It is important to understand that large-scale data analysis of this type (Big Data) is an integral tool in conducting modern medical research, and it stems from the developed computational ability to analyze large amounts of information in a short period of time.

These tools for example helped develop the corona vaccine in peak time.



In terms of the types of information used for the studies, it is first possible to identify the aggregate information relating to population sections (e.g., 25% of subjects showed a side effect) and characteristic of reports.

This is the main information that the State of Israel will provide to Pfizer.

There is no information at the individual level and there is no way to attribute certain data to the personal characteristics of the subjects.



In contrast, the high-value information which in this way also involves ethical issues that require the approval of the Helsinki Committee, is information at the individual level.

The more characteristics there are for the patient being examined - the higher the research value, since the patient's history can be analyzed back and more meanings can be attributed to the dry data.

However, in order to enable cooperation without violating the privacy of the subjects, citizens of Israel, the agreement with Pfizer stipulates that the information will be transmitted on an un-identified basis (de-identified).



By virtue of the Patient Rights Law, the Ministry of Health also monitors the use of this type of information on days such as the amendment and forces health organizations, such as the health funds, to act to protect the information when conducting research.

It should be noted that the digital information stored in the HMOs' databases is no less a strategic asset of the State of Israel, which may revolutionize global research and lead to significant breakthroughs in medicine (although several such achievements have already been achieved in recent years).

There are almost no countries in the world that have full digital medical files on patients and on such a large scale as in Israel.



Regulations under the Patient's Rights (the adoption of which is delayed due to three or four election campaigns) regulate the issue and allow Israeli health organizations to share information with researchers and biomed companies in a way that does not infringe on patients' privacy, while strictly defining confidentiality rules. .

A worthy way to contribute to the effort.

Adv. Lior Etgar (Photo: PR, PR)

It should be noted that there are certain situations, such as the agreement with Pfizer, according to which the health organizations and the research bodies or bodies that fund them, are obliged to anonymize the information before sharing it (also called "innocence").

In this way the health information remains at the level of the individual, but becomes unidentified information.

This is a common technique in the worlds of big data in general and medical research in particular, whereby researchers remove names and characteristics that help identify patients, such as location, address, age or other characteristics that may "betray" their identity.

As mentioned, the more targeted the data that is transmitted in a particular group in the population, the greater the chance of identifying the details in it, but removing more data information may harm the research value.



It seems that the transfer of anonymous data to Pfizer regarding vaccinators should not infringe on the privacy of Israeli citizens, or at the very least, they seem to have ensured that the harm will be minimal in the face of research value.

It should be noted that Pfizer, as is customary in agreements of this type, has committed itself to the confidentiality of information and to the creation of a secure mechanism for the transfer of data from Israel to Pfizer.

I believe this is a worthy way of sharing information that will contribute to global research and the advancement of the global struggle in Corona.



The author is a partner and head of the Privacy and Information Protection Division at the law firm of Ardinst, Ben Natan, Tolidano & Co.

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Source: walla

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