Christian Di Mauro, Charles-Henri Caron, Margaux Renard, Valerie Datzer, and Elisa Rossi of Hogan Lovells write:
In many health care contexts, the European Union (EU) provides a unified framework for standardization across Member States. However, this is not universally true. In the context of medical records, for example, the existing fragmented approach can have important ramifications for product liability cases involving health products.
In Germany, although information collected and processed by a health care practitioner or institution about a patient is protected by medical confidentiality and data protection laws, this can be waived with the patient’s consent. In the context of amicable or legal proceedings, it is not uncommon for the patient to consent to the disclosure of his or her medical records by the practitioner or health care institution by means of a so-called Schweigepflichtentbindungserklärung (declaration of release from confidentiality), typically by using a form stating the release from doctor-patient confidentiality and the patient’s declaration of consent under data protection laws. Thereby, the released information can be used for further investigations, and if necessary, also be produced, inter alia, to experts or in the context of legal proceedings.
On the contrary, under French law, the medical secrecy is general and absolute, and there are only a handful of very specific exceptions.
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