HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, August 15, 2005

Prescription Drug Monitoring

TalkLeft points out a new bill creating electronic monitoring programs to prevent prescription drug abuse.  A recent Associated Press article states,

The new law creates a grant program for states to create databases and enhance existing ones in hopes of ending the practice of "doctor shopping" by drug abusers seeking multiple prescriptions. It would authorize $60 million for the program through fiscal 2010. . . . .

A July letter from the American Medical Association in support of the bill called prescription drug abuse "one of the fastest growing public health problems" in the United States. The letter cited a 2002 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey that estimated there were 6.2 million recreational prescription drugs users then.

The bill passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent in July. . . .

Some in Congress worry the law will invade privacy. "This bill lacks fundamental privacy protections, such as notifying patients if their information has been lost or stolen," said Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, whose amendment to add that notification to the bill was defeated in committee. "The lack of such safeguards virtually guarantees that this well-meaning effort to combat drug abuse will become a scandalous invasion of the privacy of innocent bystanders."

Thanks to TalkLeft for the website and information.  [bm]

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