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Check consent forms to prepare for privacy law, biobanks urged

Biobanks in South Africa should scrutinise their consent forms to ensure they comply with the country’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which is expected to come into force next year.

Ciara Staunton from Middlesex University in the United Kingdom and Elizabeth de Stadler, a Cape Town-based legal consultant, make the recommendation in an article in this month’s issue of The South African Medical Journal.

POPIA is likely to have implications on how research data containing personal information, including biomedical data, is gathered and stored, they write. They say that some concerns that have been raised earlier—such as whether POPIA will still allow researchers to collect, store and share biomedical data for purposes not explicitly agreed by the donor—seem to be navigable using the act’s exemptions.

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