Poll: Majority of Scots back national DNA database

A majority of Scots would be willing to provide a blood sample to form part of a UK-wide national DNA database aimed at improving medical research, according to a new poll.
A majority of Scots would be willing to provide a blood sample to form part of a UK-wide national DNA database aimed at improving medical research, according to a new poll.
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A majority of Scots would be willing to provide a blood sample to form part of a UK-wide national DNA database aimed at improving medical research, according to a new poll.

The findings came from a YouGov survey for the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry which asked 3,265 UK adults including 297 Scottish respondents for their views on allowing the use of personal data to combat diseases.

The ABPI represent research-based biopharmaceutical companies who supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS.

The poll found that 55 per cent of Scots who took part would provide blood for a national DNA database with 28 per cent unwilling to do so and the rest saying – “don’t know”.

They also found that 62 per cent of people in Scotland would be willing to register as an organ donor for research purposes, compared to 19 per cent who are unwilling to do so.

A total of 64 per cent of Scots who took part are willing to allow the NHS to use their healthcare data for medical research, compared to 20 per cent who are unwilling.

Asked what medical breakthrough people would most like to see in the next 70 years, Scots overwhelmingly chose a cure for cancer 49 per cent with a cure for Alzheimer’s coming in second (20 per cent). Other findings from the poll included the question “would you like to live beyond 100 years old?” On this point 32 per cent of Scots would like to live past the century mark while 39 per cent said they would not.

The ABPI say this personal commitment to medical advancement from the Scottish population could help us understand more about human health than ever before and advance scientific research in complex diseases that we currently struggle to treat.

Alison Culpan, Director of ABPI Scotland, said: “The drive to find answers to medical and scientific challenges is in the very DNA of Scotland.

“It’s fantastic, but no surprise, that Scots are so keen to play a part in research, and to build on our strong heritage of delivering a world class NHS.

“The willingness to make a very personal contribution plays a big part in taking the discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.

“Currently Scotland embraces innovation in medicines by carefully considering every new drug. This, has helped Scotland be a leader in clinical trials, allowing each new medicine to be compared against the best one currently in use.

“The collaboration between Scotland’s people, clinicians and medicines researchers is good news for patients and Scotland’s economy.”