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Was Gov. Rick Scott right to worry about prescription drug database?

by Dara Kam | June 11th, 2013

It took some convincing, but proponents of Florida’s prescription drug database, including Attorney General Pam Bondi, finally persuaded Gov. Rick Scott to sign off on the program that contains Rx information for narcotics and other addictive drugs.

Scott balked because he didn’t trust that the database couldn’t be hacked or that individuals’ prescription drug info could be erroneously made public.

Now, the ACLU of Florida, which has taken Scott to court over a variety of his policies, is saying that’s exactly what’s happened, and that the drug records of 3,300 individuals has landed in the wrong hands.

The ACLU claims that the prescription drug records of 3,300 individuals were given to prosecutors and defense attorneys in six criminal cases in Volusia County.

“Somehow information that is supposed to remain private and confidential and be safely maintained in this unfortunate database made its way into third parties who have no right to it,” said ACLU of Florida attorney Maria Kayanan.

The civil rights organization is seeking more information about how the patients’ prescriptions, birthdates, addresses was made public during the court cases.

The database was created in 2009 but wasn’t up and running until 2011. Lawmakers this year agreed to allow state money to be used to fund the database, pushed by President Obama’s drug czar and others as way to help fight prescription drug abuse by preventing “doctor shopping.”

The ACLU has issued a public records request to the Florida Department of Health and to the Seminole County Sheriff’s office in search of records relating to requests made by local or federal law enforcement agencies to the Electronic Florida On-Line Registry of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORSCE) database.

“It certainly looks like there were multiple breaches at multiple places. Some of them may have been unintentional. We don’t know. But the bottom line is this is so very wrong,” Kayanan said.

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4 Responses to “Was Gov. Rick Scott right to worry about prescription drug database?”

  1. David Says:

    We begged him not to sign that damn bill and he caved on something he knew he should not sign. He not only caved to Bondi he caved to the media. You have a role to play in this as well. So I hope you are happy because you got exactly what you wanted.

    I feel sorry for the innocent people who have now had their information made public. You, the Governor and Pam Bondi owe them an apology.

  2. PBCnative Says:

    This ‘database’ doesn’t stop anyone from obtaining pain killers off the street. It may eliminate one person going to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions, but it doesn’t eliminate people going to a doctor and selling their pills. The database also makes it more difficult for people with legitimate medical issues who HAVE to take pain meds to get their prescriptions filled. I’m one of those people and every month when I go to the pharmacy, I’m treated like a junkie who’s looking for a fix. Many pharmacies won’t take my prescriptions (because I’m not one of their “regulars” and oftentimes the pharmacies don’t even have the medication because they are limited as to how many they can dispense in a month.

    I have multiple bulging, compressed and herniated discs in my back; I suffer from Sciatica, Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis. I have a desk job where I sit all day, and I’m in constant pain. The only option I have is surgical intervention-and that is only a 40% chance of improvement in my condition.

    I understand many people have died from prescription drug overdoses; but the number is nowhere near those who have died as a result of alcohol abuse or tobacco usage.

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