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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Apr;89(4):537-45. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2010.306. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Coding of DNA samples and data in the pharmaceutical industry: current practices and future directions--perspective of the I-PWG.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacogenomics, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Raritan, New Jersey, USA.


DNA samples collected in clinical trials and stored for future research are valuable to pharmaceutical drug development. Given the perceived higher risk associated with genetic research, industry has implemented complex coding methods for DNA. Following years of experience with these methods and with addressing questions from institutional review boards (IRBs), ethics committees (ECs) and health authorities, the industry has started reexamining the extent of the added value offered by these methods. With the goal of harmonization, the Industry Pharmacogenomics Working Group (I-PWG) conducted a survey to gain an understanding of company practices for DNA coding and to solicit opinions on their effectiveness at protecting privacy. The results of the survey and the limitations of the coding methods are described. The I-PWG recommends dialogue with key stakeholders regarding coding practices such that equal standards are applied to DNA and non-DNA samples. The I-PWG believes that industry standards for privacy protection should provide adequate safeguards for DNA and non-DNA samples/data and suggests a need for more universal standards for samples stored for future research.

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