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Health officials tightening security of drug database after 3,300 Rx histories revealed

by Dara Kam | June 19th, 2013

State officials are tightening security of the statewide prescription drug database after the names, prescription drug history and other personal information of 3,300 individuals were released to lawyers of six defendants in a prescription drug fraud sting in May.

Wednesday’s announcement by Department of Health officials regarding stricter security measures came on the same day the state attorney who released the records revealed new details about how an investigation into a drug trafficking ring netted so many names of people apparently unrelated to the sting.

The changes to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, backed by prosecutors, are still in the works. The Health Department will hold a workshop on the proposed rules on July 8 to “identify any existing gaps” related to what happens to the records once they are mined from the database and “to establish accountability standards for users of PDMP information,” according to a press release issued by DOH today.

“The PDMP works daily to save the lives of those with prescription narcotic addiction and privacy is job one,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “That’s why today the Department is taking steps forward to put additional safeguards in place to prevent any unauthorized use of information that is intended to save lives. Moreover, I want to thank the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association for adopting procedures that provide further safeguards on how information from the program is used in court proceedings.”

The proposed changes won’t fix the problem, according to Michael Lambert, the Daytona Beach lawyer whose name was among the thousands on the list. It’s already a crime to knowingly and willfully wrongly distribute the information according to state law.

Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza gave the list of names to five of six attorneys for defendants accused of prescription drug fraud. Lambert is suing Larizza and asking a judge to block the law, which Lambert says is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and unconstitutionally violates protections against government searches and seizures.

Stricter rules about who can look at the data once it’s been retrieved won’t help, Lambert said. Larizza should have redacted the names of the individuals on the list who were not accused of crimes, he said.

“I wasn’t participating in fraud and neither were these other thousands of people. So what right do they they have to get my information out there?”

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3 Responses to “Health officials tightening security of drug database after 3,300 Rx histories revealed”

  1. Lies Are Government Told Us Says:

    The IRS targeted groups that are not in current political favor;
    or perhaps, they did not like their politics
    or surmised that given the negative talk of President Obama-”we’ll punish our enemies and reward our friends” they chose to pummel groups which sought tax exemption who opposed their hero and they followed President Obama’s words.

    There were leaks about people’s taxes, about people’s donations.

    Obamacare will be getting health information on all Americans. Well, maybe we can find out about Joe Biden’s brain surgeries and his inability to properly filter and discern proper comments to improper comments he makes.

    How about President Obama’s smoking. Is he still smoking. Is he polluting the White House or is he on an electronic cigarettes or nicotine gum. We see him chomping away many times.

    Do you take sleeping pills?, then you are on the FL prescription list and people CAN access that information.

    Hell, the government has STORED every Google search you made, every email you sent or received and purchases you have made.

    There is NO reason to store information like that on EVERYONE. It should be DESTROYED

    The government LIED to us on Benghazi, Hillary Clinton LIED to the relatives who received their loved ones caskets at Andrews Air Force Base by telling them they would ‘get’ that film maker when she KNEW that it was a TERRORIST ATTACK! And hell, if she claims she didn’t KNOW what was happening in her OWN State Department she is was OUT OF TOUCH.

    Lies our government told us.

    Distrust Abounds.

  2. Jeanette Fraser Says:

    Re: Lambert vs Larizza,
    I’ve read over some of the court documents of the proposed lawsuit: Michael H. Lambert v R.J.Larizza, etc Case Number 2013- 31402-CICI. I understand that some patients may have been compromised but the benefits far outweigh the consequences. Saying that it’s targeting “law abiding citizens” is ludicrous. Some of these law abiding citizens are obtaining the pills and having family and friends sell them. If a person died of an overdose, the data base can be crucial in determining the origination of the source depending on toxicology reports and who at the time were around the victim that have or had prescriptions for the deadly narcotics that caused the persons death. It’s fair to say then that if the parents, parents family, friends or acquatainences that have or had prescriptions for these pills should rightfully be focused on, if trafficking or overdose death is determined. Our prescription data base is vital and Attorney Michael Lambert along with the ACLU should not challenge it calling it “unconstitutional” when that data base is used to stop “doctor shoppers”, deter addicts and ultimately save lives and hinder illegal distribution of narcotic pills for unlawful profit. The prescription data base is focal point for the start of an investigation. Confidentiality should not be a factor when these deadly addictive prescription drugs are being prescribed. The analogy we can use is a gun. It could be deadly in the wrong hands. In this case when a gun is sold, the gun is registered, background check done and fingerprints are taken and becomes public record. When a physician prescribes a deadly addictive narcotic medication that could kill in the wrong hands the same procedure should be used. Law enforcement, pharmacists and physicians now have the prescription data base that they can rely on. Mistakes happen. Maybe the privacy of some patients were compromised but as the article featured from The Partnership at Drug Free.org on April 8th (my daughter’s death day) 2013 they wrote: “The state’s success in fighting prescription drug abuse is due in part to its prescription drug monitoring program, according to the Orlando Sentinal newspaper. The program, launched in September 2011, now holds more than 56 million records. It is designed to catch people who doctor-shop to obtain multiple prescriptions, as well as physicians who prescribe too many painkillers. By late last year, law enforcement had used the Florida database more than 20,000 times.” (source online: http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/community-related/florida-combats-prescription-drug-abuse-with-laws-and-enforcement.) The point here is 3,300 out of 56 million records. To me this is not a substantial fight that if taken to court can be challenged for the reasons and benefits it has produced. I have been a nurse for 32 years and I have witnessed patients I’ve taken care of in their 50′s, 60′s and 70′s having to hide their prescription narcotic pain pills deep on their persons because their children in their 20′s 30′s and 40′s were bullying them about obtaining them from their parents for personal use, selling or sharing. So they’re may be some “law abiding citizens” who’s privacy were compromised, and with rightful suspicion, but these “law abiding citizens” could have direct ties to sources where the deadly narcotic pills were taken out of their possession which then the compromised patient didn’t admit that they were a direct supplier to their family members. There are always more sides to a story and Attorney Michael Lambert and the ACLU shouldn’t be so hasty on firing up a lawsuit based on a few compromised files.

  3. office 2013 key Says:

    Take only what you can hold comfortably.

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