Access to RAMQ data: “businessman’s delirium” or “primordial” issue?

The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, on Friday drew the wrath of opposition, but also the praise of doctors and pharmaceutical representatives after proposing to attract “pharmas” with data from the Régie de l’assurance Quebec disease (RAMQ).

The minister said on Thursday that the data is a “gold mine” of information; enough to attract pharmaceutical companies, because in his opinion they will find an opportunity to create drugs that will meet “more targeted” needs.

“It’s a delirium of businessman disconnected, “responded the elected official Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on Friday. “I do not see how a Minister of the Economy in 2020 can launch such an idea so casually. “

His colleague from the Parti Québécois, Harold Lebel, was also concerned about the minister’s plans. “These are our personal data, at the RAMQ, that we would give to pharmaceutical companies to promote business “, did he declare. “Dangerous man, dangerous” he said of Pierre Fitzgibbon.

Liberal elected officials, for their part, presented nuanced views on the issue. ““ GIVE access to our health data. ” Phew! Christine St-Pierre wrote on Twitter. “Short answer: NO! », Added his colleague Marwah Rizqy, on the same platform.

The former Minister of Health Gaétan Barrette has instead claimed the authorship of this idea. “”For the record“I developed this dossier with my colleagues for four years and almost finished in 2018. […] Please, Minister, adjust yourself, because today the form could kill the substance of a major project for Quebec! “, He wrote, still on Twitter.

Supporting doctors and pharmaceuticals

The Montreal InVivo group, made up of doctors and pharmaceutical executives, was rather keen to express its support for Minister Fitzgibbon.

“We must enable researchers in the life sciences and health technologies sector to seize the opportunities presented by the analysis of big data in health and time is running out! », They plead in a letter sent to Duty.

“It is important to understand that while the industry can benefit from this access, it is ultimately the patients who will benefit as they can be offered tailor-made treatments by healthcare professionals. This is commonly referred to as personalized / precision medicine, ”they write.

It was precisely by talking about this type of medicine that the Minister of the Economy revealed Quebec’s strategy to attract pharmaceutical companies. “I think we have artificial intelligence, we have specialized medicine, eventually when we go to regulate access to data, we [aura] RAMQ data, and RAMQ data is a gold mine, ”he said, not without acknowledging that this is a“ very controversial ”topic.

According to Montréal InVivo, which defines itself as “the cluster of life sciences and health technologies”, it is “essential” to put in place processes for accessing health data. “But we have to make sure that the sharing of data is done in a secure, reliable and above all, anonymous manner,” insists the organization in its letter.

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