Barr: Prescription Drug Monitoring puts your privacy at risk

March 22, 2010 11:20 am

by Jason · 10 comments

Bob Barr takes on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which is currently awaiting placement on the calendar in the Senate:

Federal and state drug agencies want Georgia to create a database of doctors who prescribe pain medications, pharmacists who fill prescriptions for pain medications, and patients who receive prescription pain medications. And law enforcement agencies are employing a full-court press in the General Assembly to get what they want. Whether they succeed against a coalition of state senators and representatives concerned about such a privacy-invasive database, remains very much up in the air as the General Assembly enters the home stretch of its 40-day session. Hanging in the balance is the question of whether law enforcement and regulatory agencies across the state and across the nation will have ready access to Georgia citizens’ private medication records — to be analyzed, cataloged and manipulated in ways they will never know.

It isn’t that law enforcement is interested in data basing every prescription a doctor writes and which a pharmacist fills; at least not yet. The immediate concern is with pain medication; especially those in the opiate family of drugs, such as oxycontin, included on the federal and state “controlled substances” lists. Also included in such a large dragnet, however, are many prescription medications other than pain pills; medications such as sleep aids, behavior drugs like Ritalin, and cold medications including pseudoephedrine.

Granted, these pain medications obviously can be and are abused (as are many medications that do not appear on the federal list); and some people do obtain bogus prescriptions for them, or collect multiple prescriptions and have them filled at different pharmacies in order to disguise the large quantity of the pills they are obtaining. However, the solution being touted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), by the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, and by similar law enforcement agencies across the country, is the typical one preferred by government at all levels – monitor everybody in order to catch the [relatively] few abusers.

Leaving aside for the moment the fundamental principle that what a doctor prescribes for a patient should be the concern of the doctor and his patient, and not law enforcement or government regulators, the bill pending before the Georgia General Assembly (currently, SB 418) to create a mandatory electronic database to monitor prescription drugs, sweeps far too broadly and raises serious privacy and other constitutional concerns.

Call your legislator and tell them to vote against this bill.

chefdavid March 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

Something else you could do to if you live in the Ninth District is to not be voting for one of the sponsors.

ByteMe March 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

And when did the author disappear from these blog postings??

Icarus March 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Technical difficulties. Please stand by…

lukethedrifter March 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Good catch ByteMe. I thought something looked odd.

That being said, I agree with his position, but I could go a lifetime without seeing that fools name in print (type) again.

Henry Waxman March 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I heard Rush is also against this bill…

lukethedrifter March 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Lay off man. Rush was in a lot of pain.

Game Fan March 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Jeez, looks like the only group missing in support of the bill may be the International Association of Chiefs of Police. But of course gun owners already know that all these “Chiefs” don’t represent the rank and file cops on many issues. So basically all these “agencies” with their “Chiefs” could hardly be the last word on what are the real sentiments within an agency. So some agencies are clamoring for another one? Get real. Absolutely ridiculous.

Game Fan March 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Of course many will remember the conservative response to the gun control crowd and the school shootings, as in “well what other factors were involved besides guns”? And meds are usually if not always a factor. Does this mean conservatives are for another taxpayer funded program and starting up a new agency? Pshaw! Heck no.

Technocrat March 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

What am I missing since every Pharma company knows the patient, quanity, doctor, and pharmacy that dispenses their product each month.
How else could they totalize individual physicans kick backs in various forms. Dinners, fishing trips, free cruises for a 5 minute lecture, free casino chips, actual cash, hookers, and many other methods.

Pain clincs may dispense their own narcotic drugs without a pharmacy just as hospitals do.

Game Fan March 24, 2010 at 6:34 am

We need some “tireless bloodhounds” to find out what’s going on here.

PAGING BILL SIMON.

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