Saturday, March 8, 2008

I'm Not So Sure About This

Soon, Georgia children who have ADHD may carry an additional stigma. If the Georgia Senate follows the lead of the House, then children whose doctors prescribe many of the common medications for the treatment of ADHD would have their names and detailed personal and prescription records added to a list accessible by law enforcement without court order. In fact, all Georgians, including those who are suspected of no criminal activities, who fill a prescription for a Schedule II, III or IV drug would be added to a permanent data base-a database to be created and maintained by a third party, private sector contractor. So, if you have the flu, and your doctor gives you a prescription for a cough medicine with codeine, then on the list you go.

Late in February, HB 455, The Georgia Prescription Monitoring Program Act passed the Georgia House with strong bi-partisan support. The purpose of the act-to curb the drug abuse and associated illegal activities-is certainly compelling, but medical privacy is also important. I suppose opposing such a bill carries the political consequence of facing mail or ads calling the member "soft on drug dealers," but I think this bill goes way to far and offers few protections to patients.

The bill requires that on at least a weekly basis, pharmacists must submit, electronically, the following information about patients who fill prescriptions for Schedule II, III and IV drugs:

(1) United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) permit number or approved dispenser facility identification number;
(2) Date prescription filled;
(3) Prescription number;
(4) Whether prescription is new or a refill;
(5) National Drug Code (NDC) for drug dispensed;
(6) Quantity dispensed;
(7) Number of days´ supply of the drug;
(8) Patient´s name;
(9) Patient´s address;
(10) Patient´s date of birth;
(11) Approved prescriber identification number;
(12) Date prescription issued by prescriber; and
(13) Other data elements consistent with standards established by the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy, if designated by regulations of the board

And, under the law, that information is specifically made available to various people including, "Local, state, and federal law enforcement or prosecutorial officials engaged in the administration, investigation, or enforcement of the laws governing licit drugs." It appears that they would not need a subpoena, search warrant or court order to obtain these records.

I don't know about you, but this is a little bit too much Big Brother for me.


Tina said...

And a private firm gets to make a lot of money on the contract.

Bryan said...

Great post. I used to take ADHD medications. At the same time, I seeked help from as they offer plenty of tips and guides. Ireally worked for me. Any opinions?

Amy Morton said...

Effective treatment of ADHD usually combines medication with behavioral therapy, but some people are able to cope without medicine. Either way, you have to learn to behaviors that enhance success.

Vic said...

Don't worry, only a half dozen or so law enforcement officials in georgia know how to use computer databases beyond their own systems.

So your children will be safe for a while from being reported to the DEA for their cough medicine.

While the meth and crack dealers around the corner get their free get out of jail passes.